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Bdos among Top 10 dependent on tourism

Cheryl Harewood

Bdos among Top 10 dependent on tourism

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BARBADOS HAS BEEN LISTED among the ten countries in the world most dependent on tourism for its economic survival.
This comes in the face of a report from Colin Jordan, president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, that while January and February were proving strong for most hotels, March and summer months were “not looking so good”.
This means that any significant decrease in tourist arrivals will have a devastating effect on the island’s economy.
Josef Forstmayr, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that seven other Caribbean islands make up the list, including Anguilla, Antigua, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands. The Seychelles and Mauritius were also listed among the ten.
Both Forstmayr and Alec Sanguinetti, director general and chief executive officer of the CHTA, said it was therefore crucial that tourism’s worth be recognized by regional governments.
They disclosed during a Press briefing at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which concluded last week at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island, Bahamas, that advocacy with government and citizens was key to the growth and sustainability of the tourism sector.
Forstmayr said it was important that more recognition be given to the linkages of agriculture and services within the tourism sector. He stressed that 50 per cent of food products used within the tourism industry across the region “are purchased locally”.
The CHTA president also listed regional integration as one of the four tourism pillars of the regional Tourism Is Key campaign, and said intraregional travel was still a big issue.
“We are frustrated with regional integration. While the region is small in population, we are large in area size.
“Yet we have so many issues to deal with when it comes to travel.
“It is important that we as a region recognize the need to invest in our systems and look at amending and removing barriers of integration such as frequent security (travel) checks, which prohibit us in terms of doing business.
“Technology exists to help in this area and we as a region must demand this,” Forstmayr said.
He also said that the Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC), which is the marketing company set up by the CHTA and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to aid with regional tourism marketing, was also important to introducing the Caribbean as a brand.
The CTDC, which is 50 per cent funded by the private sector and 50 per cent by the public sector (regional governments who are member countries of the CTO), will soon be appointing an individual to run operations.