News Americas, FORTE-DE-FRANCE, Martinique, Thurs. Oct. 17, 2013: Caribbean governments need to “take the blinders off” and “wake up to today’s realities” regarding the tourism sector.
That’s according to Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization and Commissioner of Tourism of the U.S.V.I.
Nicholson-Doty delivered the scolding as she spoke during the opening night presentation of the 2013 State of the Industry Conference on Wednesday night at the Madiana Convention Centre in the host nation of Martinique.
Nicholson-Doty chided regional governments for lacking “the political will to move our regional marketing program along fast enough to ensure we remain competitive as the most sought-after warm weather destination.”
‘“One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean,” cannot be just a feel good slogan or a tagline that we embrace when we meet a few times a year but it must be the strategic marketing reality of our region if we are to survive the aggressive marketing efforts of major destinations around the world,”’ she warned.
“It’s time to seize the moment. To our member governments I ask of you to honor your commitments on time. This delay makes it more challenging to keep those members who have honored their membership and marketing commitment to remain fully engaged, the CTO chairman added,” while noting that the past year of her chairmanship has been a “baptism by fire” as the Caribbean tourism sector continues to face “many challenges – from slow growth, unpredictable airlift and onerous taxation – both external and internal – which impacts the cost of vacations to our region.
Wednesday night’s kick-off of two days of discussion with leading Caribbean and international tourism experts on a range of elements that are critical to the development and success of the Caribbean’s tourism sector, including training and education, service quality, standards, visitor satisfaction, and regional transportation.
The State of the Industry conference brings together decision-makers from the public and private sectors, academics, government officials, hoteliers, travel professionals and journalists from the region and around the world, runs through to October 18th under the theme, “Perfecting the Experience. Delivering Authenticity.”
The conference is organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, (CTO) in collaboration with the Martinique Tourism Authority. It is supported by Chanflor, Habitation Saint-Etienne, Colibri, Habitation Clement, Chocolat Elot, Travel Zoo, Royal Fruits of Martinique and Opusseven.