BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (31 July, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) are encouraged by the support of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders for initiatives to facilitate travel and stimulate economic growth through tourism.
The CTO, with the support of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, presented a number of short, medium and long-term proposals to the regional leaders at their recent summit in Grenada, aimed at positioning the Caribbean as a thriving world-class tourism, and bolstering the region’s economic strength and stability.
In the presentation entitled Tourism in the Region: Building a Caribbean Tourism Development and Marketing Initiative, the region’s tourism leaders recommended advancing research to better assess tourism’s economic impact and the region’s competitiveness. They also discussed removing travel barriers, stimulating travel to and within the Caribbean, supporting the development of Caribbean talent through a coordinated approach to tourism-related education and training, and strengthening the creative industries and economic linkages to tourism.
Marketing and public relations of the Caribbean brand and creating a public-private sector entity financed and managed collaboratively also received consideration at the meeting.
The heads of government have said the proposed initiatives were fully aligned with CARICOM’s own strategic plan and were also in furtherance of the strategic plan for tourism services.
The leaders have also said they recognised the opportunities presented by the recommended strategies, including a strong focus on marketing, aimed at stimulating sustainable growth in tourism.
In a communique issued after the summit, the leaders said they had agreed to support various public-private sector initiatives, broaden engagement with Caribbean countries, companies and multilateral organizations to support a regional tourism marketing and development initiative and adopt and implement travel facilitation measures to stimulate economic growth.
“Heads of Government agreed that the establishment of a single airspace should be pursued and mandated the Secretariat to work with Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) and relevant agencies to define a roadmap and identify the necessary resources for its implementation,” the communique reads.
However, the heads of government said they recognised the need for the administrative strengthening of the legal, operational and institutional framework as well as the appropriate resourcing of the CASSOS to enable it to discharge its mandate as an effective and efficient regional safety oversight organisation.
The CTO and CHTA have long lobbied for the removal of the hurdles that make it difficult to travel to, and through, the region, arguing the removal of many of the restrictions would encourage greater regional and international travel and stimulate economic growth.
Among its recommendations is a new multilateral air services agreement, which the leaders said “only required resolution of very few matters”.
Therefore, they mandated the CARICOM secretariat to work with member countries “to enable signature at the next inter-sessional meeting” in February 2018.