Caribbean Tourist Ministers Have Eyes on the Prize

The Summit of Caribbean Tourism Ministers will highlight this year’s Tourism Outlook Seminar slated for December 6 to 8 at the Montego Bay Convention Center.

The three-day event is being hosted by the Ministry of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The theme this year is “Tourism: Navigating Global Challenges for Continued Growth”.

Portfolio Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the summit will facilitate discussion among Caribbean ministers on a collaborative approach to generating increased tourism growth opportunities across the region.

Bartlett said the summit’s staging comes against the background of data indicating that the Caribbean has the slowest rate of tourism growth in the world.

He noted that while the Caribbean and Latin America is the most tourism-dependent region globally, it lagged behind other areas, such as Asia, Africa and the Pacific, which had higher growth rates.

In this regard, Bartlett said the summit will focus on how best countries can collectively transition from highly competitive strategies “that have not given us (adequate levels of) growth” to a new approach of “looking at the things we share… that we can do well together and do it better”.

“We in Jamaica have set our eyes on a five per cent growth target over the next five years to achieve five million visitor arrivals, earn US$5 billion, employ 125,000 people directly and in the process, expand our room count up to about 45,000,” he further outlined.

Bartlett said the summit and conference, which will feature discussion on other tourism-related matters will “allow us to explore, further, how we move towards achieving those outcomes”.

Tourism Director, Paul Pennicook, in his remarks, said the seminar will present an ideal opportunity for dialogue among tourism interests on a wide range of sector issues, with the expectation that decisions reached “would have benefited from the deliberations of a wide cross section of persons”.

Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA) President, Omar Robinson, for his part, said the entity fully endorses this seminar “for the huge benefit it will bring for the entire industry”.

The Tourism Outlook Seminar, which was first staged in 2008, is expected to be attended by local, regional and international delegates.

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