Above: the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami
By Alexander Britell
MIAMI — Delegates from around the Caribbean region assembled in Miami Monday for the beginning of the Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit.
The conference’s first day saw contributions from speakers including Warren Jestin, senior vice president and chief economist at Scotiabank, Amanda Hite, president at hotel analytics firm STR and David Scowscill, president and CEO at the World Travel and Tourism Council, among others.
The conference focus on the state of the Caribbean hotel industry and current investment opportunities, including specific projects in Montserrat, Grenada, the Dominican Republic and other islands.
Among those on hand was Montserrat Premier Reuben Meade, on hand to pitch the island’s Little Bay development project.
The tourism industry remains the greatest single contributor to Caribbean GDP, and its GDP contribution to the region is projected to grow from $48 billion to $68 billion within 10 years, according to Scowscill.
With a projected annual growth of 3 percent, that could mean an increase from 2 million regional jobs to 2.5 million within 10 years, he said.
But the region must overcome several barriers to tourism growth, he said, including the continued problem of taxation (specifically the British APD and other airlift levies), improving freedom of travel and focusing on sustainable development.
The two-day CHRIS conference is being held at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami. It concludes Tuesday evening.