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CTO head calls for better service

marciadottin, [email protected]

CTO head calls for better service

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The Caribbean as a tourist destination needs to improve its provision of service more than any other in the world.That’s the view of Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.And so, Caribbean islands should band together to formulate the planet’s first Total Visitor Satisfaction programme.Riley, a Barbadian, made the suggestion on Sunday night while addressing the launch of the 25th Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ week of activities.The special week was declared open by Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy at Solidarity House, headquarters of the Barbados Workers’ Union.Riley said the programme was a must, since other destinations like the United States and certain European countries had bigger budgets, deeper pockets and were fierce competitors.He gave an example of how Florida’s tourism officials recently pumped $25 million simply to invite tourists back there because numbers had dipped after the controversial BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.Riley said that even though Caribbean destinations were not lying down and being listless during the current economic downturn, much more attention needed to be paid to service excellence.He said that for smaller destinations like Barbados, and the Caribbean by extension, there were three critical factors: “service, service, service”.“If you drive a taxi, if you fly a plane, if you work with Customs and Immigration, or even if you sit behind a desk but come into contact with visitors, the people of the Caribbean expect you to take tourism, the business of the Caribbean, seriously,” Riley told the audience.He reminded those on hand that tourism in the Caribbean employed 2.5 million people, and raked in $20 billion annually, so it should be taken more seriously than any other sector.He said those numbers proved that the Caribbean was actually the most tourism-dependent region in the world. “If anyone should be taking tourism seriously, it should be the people of the Caribbean,” Riley added. (BA)