CHTA and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) continue to advance a regional tourism marketing and development initiative, working initially through CARICOM and the region’s public and private sector leaders. In July, CHTA and CTO presented a number of short, medium and long-term proposals to the regional leaders at their Heads of Government meeting 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, following an introduction by Prime Minister Hubert Minnis from The Bahamas, which chairs the tourism portfolio for the regional organization and a detailed presentation from CTO and CHTA, the region’s tourism leaders unanimously endorsed a recommended framework for advancing a regional public-private sector effort, broadening it beyond the CARICOM countries to the entire Caribbean.
Elements of the framework focused on establishing a sustained regional tourism marketing campaign, setting up a funding and governance structure to guide the effort. They also agreed to accelerate 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.
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.
“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.
CHTA and CTO 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.