CaribWorldNews, RODNEY BAY VILLAGE, St. Lucia, Fri. Dec. 4, 2009: Is too much emphasis being put on tourism statistics by Caribbean governments and not enough on truly measuring the growth and sustainability of the tourism sector?
The issue was the focus of the opening session this morning as delegates gathered for the 18th session of the Caribbean Media Exchange Conference in Rodney Bay Village, St. Lucia under the theme ‘Multicultural Marketing: A Climate of Change.’
Panelist Terestella Gonzalez Denton, former executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, insisted that tourism is more than simply numbers or a measurement of hotel stays and cruise arrivals.
She urged tourism executives to move beyond the many bureaucratic agencies and beyond simply creating plans.
‘It’s about engaging all ministries in the structure of the tourism sector, we need to invest in education. The policies are there but the execution is what we are lacking,’ said Gonzalez-Denton. ‘Let’s focus on strategies that can really be executed.’
Doug Hoyte, another panelist speaking on the State of Caribbean tourism, agreed. Hoyte noted that most of the times, governments are quick to announce arrival statistics without actually really focusing on the real growth of the sector.
A lot of talk and no real action, said Hoyte, while also chastising Caribbean governments and the Caribbean Tourism Organization for what he felt was their late lobbying start in pushing back against the recent British airline tax levy.
But John Johnson Rose, spokesperson of the CTO, defended the organization against the claim, insisting that the CTO has been actively lobbying against the tax, engaging the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK as well as regional prime ministers in a letter writing campaign to the British government. The UK tax became effective in November.