Above: Dominica (CJ Photo)
By Alexander Britell
PORT OF SPAIN — With the continued impact of the global recession, Caribbean islands must band together to preserve the region as the world’s premier warm-weather destination, Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Minister Stephen Cadiz said Monday.
The Minister was giving the opening remarks at the Caribbean Sustainable Development Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Trinidad on Monday evening.
“We cannot compete against each other as to whether or not the Caribbean is the premier warm-weather destination — we must maintain that status,” he said. “Once the travelers arrive, we will compete in a fair, business-like manner.”
He said this week’s conference, held under the theme of Keeping the Right Balance: Enhancing Destination Sustainability Through Products, Partnerships and Profitability,” comes at an opportune time.
“The Caribbean faces many challenges but I am convinced that any problems we face are far outweighed by the great opportunities we now have to grow tourism,” he said. “It is critical that we lay aside differences and forge ahead in the true Caribbean spirit to discuss these issues and identify joint solutions to the challenges facing our industry.
“It is in our own interest to devise ways and means to correct whatever can still be remedied,” the Minister said.
Beyond that, the region will have to continue to develop the sector as travelers demand more than just sun, sand and sea, as markets like Southeast Asia and Europe continue to compete for market share.