Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has called for a new architecture for Caribbean tourism to add more value to the tourist experiences and increase growth.
“Caribbean island states are uniquely positioned to benefit from this phenomenal tourism growth that is anticipated to occur globally at rate of 4-5 per cent over the next several years, providing that certain arrangements and strategic planning are put in place on a region-wide basis,” Bartlett said during his presentation on a Cohesive Caribbean Model at a Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Council of Tourism Ministers and Commissioners meeting on Wednesday in New York in the United States.
“As a region, we need to recognise the indispensability of the tourism industry to economic development in the region and act to consolidate and increase shares of the global market,” he added.
Highlighting the global competitiveness of the sector and the dependency of the region on this economic activity, Bartlett urged CTO member states to seek a more collaborative approach in ensuring not only sustainability but resilience within the region.
According to him, regional leaders in tourism — hoteliers, government officials, marketers, aviation authorities — must identify a multi-dimensional, collaborative framework that is best suited for enhancing tourism products and services in the region.
He said that failure to steadfastly and purposefully adopt this depended collaborative approach may be to the detriment of the long-term competitiveness of the region’s highly tourism-dependent regional economies.”
Whilst the Caribbean experienced 30 million visitors, which resulted in US$37 billion in total visitor spending last year, Bartlett called on policymakers to “strengthen cooperation aimed at identifying and developing strategies and innovations to consolidate and expand the region’s market shares of international visitors and also to make tourism more beneficial to local communities”.
“Only a deeper collaborative approach to tourism development in the region will allow for Caribbean states to combat shared threats and risks and remain globally competitive,” he said.
Bartlett was participating in the CTO annual Caribbean Week in New York. The CTO’s Caribbean Week is the largest regional tourism activity in the New York area. This year, the event has attracted over 6,000 participants, from over 24 member countries, engaging in a series of regional discussions on the future of the industry.
During his visit to New York, the minister was joined by John Lynch, chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board; Donovan White, director of Tourism; and Fiona Fennell, senior director of corporate Communications at the Ministry of Tourism.