OECS Countries to Have Common Tourism Policy by Next Month

An official at the OECS Secretariat in St. Lucia said consultants are refining the Policy document to reflect decisions taken at a recent workshop of tourism officials.

Programme Officer at the OECS St. Lucia-based Secretariat, Dr. Lorraine Nicholas said they are hoping to disseminate the revised policy to officials in the Member States of the OECS.

The details of the Common Tourism Policy were agreed to by senior tourism officials of OECS governments. St. Kitts and Nevis was represented at the meeting by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Patricia Martin, who, along with other officials  agreed on the common policy for the nine-nation Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

The new agreement is expected to take effect from 1st October, 2011.

September 14 this year has been set as the deadline for submission of final comments; and it is expected that the final Common Tourism Policy document will be ready by October.

The framers of the policy are said to have focused on tourism development within the OECS Economic Union and how it further enhances the life of the thousands of persons employed in the sector.

“I think I can say with some level of confidence that the OECS member states have produced a very comprehensive relevant and action oriented Tourism Policy,” Nicholas added.

The OECS Secretariat said the just concluded Antigua and Barbuda consultation was a success as tourism professionals from the private and public sector in the OECS and other stakeholders were able to agree on the key areas to be addressed in the OECS Tourism Policy.

The meeting identified the operations of the OECS’ single yachting space as a top priority under the Policy and other key areas include: Transportation, Harmonization of customs and immigration procedures, improvement in air access to the region; and standardization of human resource development initiatives across the region.

The meeting followed an initial consultation held in March 2011, where tourism professionals from the region’s private and public sectors identified and prioritized key areas on which the Policy should focus.

Nicholas said having formulated the plan, funding has been identified under the 10th European Development Fund programme to implement the OECS Common Tourism Policy.

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