Wake-up Call For The Caribbean, Says Minister Of Tourism

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Competition For The Caribbean Tourism Market

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 17, 2008 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis Minister of State for Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Rickey” Skerritt says increasing competition from new and emerging markets should serve as a wake-up call for the Caribbean.

Speaking to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) at the World Travel Market (WTM) trade show now underway in London, Minister Skerritt further warned that there was no room for complacency, as travelers were now a lot more discerning than in the past about where they take a holiday.

He said regional tourism officials must find new ways to promote the Caribbean as the destination of choice, in the face of growing competition.

“Increasingly across the Middle East and Asia there are more warm weather destinations emerging than ever before but still the Caribbean has to continue to differentiate itself in terms of our nature, our history and culture and our people,”  he said.

“We have to build on the very long tradition we have in tourism and move away from the concept of it being always there, in terms of tourism being always there, and refresh it and make it more exciting and really invigorate our products across the region,” he told CMC.

The Caribbean is one of the most tourism-dependent regions in the world and Skerritt, who is also a former vice chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), said industry officials needed to do a better job of exposing the potential visitor, including those who have been to the region several times to “the treasures that they may have missed.”

“There are lots of treasures in the Caribbean and we have to do a better job of really presenting it “¦We have to do a better job of selling it to our own people and getting our own people to be better at selling our products to the world,” Skerritt added.

WTM is a four-day business to business travel trade industry event that brings together worldwide buyers and sellers from every sector of the industry.

Organisers of the event, which features nearly 6 000 exhibitors, say it provides a unique opportunity to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with major markets.


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