Recognize tourism as major Caribbean earner, urges CTO chiefListen /
The head of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has asked the region’s ambassadors to Europe to remember the importance of tourism as a major economic driver and as a potent anti-poverty tool.
Speaking to a gathering of Caribbean envoys in Brussels, CTO chairman Beverly Nicholson-Doty of the United States Virgin Islands lauded their championing of the region “as one of the world’s preferred warm weather destinations and a preferred place to do business and to invest,” but lamented “tourism, in spite of its massive contribution to the GDP of our respective countries and territories, is one of those industries which does not get the priority attention it deserves.”
Noting tourism was by far the largest industry in the Caribbean region and the fastest growing sector in the world, she said, “getting it placed as a priority agenda for our heads of government remains challenging.”
Multinational organizations based in Brussels like the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), list as a priority “fighting the scourge of poverty, so allow me to reiterate that tourism is one of the most powerful tools for poverty alleviation.”
Pointing out the Caribbean has long been faced with barriers to its traditional exports to Europe, she stated “the great thing about tourism is that the consumer is brought to the producer.”
It is also a resilient industry in which “the vast majority of our tourism companies have 10 or fewer employees and many are run by women.”
Nicholson-Doty, who also serves as Commissioner of Tourism of the US Virgin Islands, contended “tourism is particularly good news for savvy investors because it is the industry of growth in the Caribbean and that growth is registered across so many different sectors – from the obvious: hospitality and transportation, through to the less obvious areas affected directly and indirectly by tourism: construction, agribusiness, health, education and, among many others, the creative industries.
Tourism for most of the region’s countries and territories is our major earner, she declared, “and part of this income actually trickles down to many other sectors as the industry reduces poverty by (building) micro and small private companies covering everything from handicraft through to health.”
This is Don Bobb reporting.