By Alexander Britell
ST GEORGE’S — As the Caribbean recovers from the impacts of Irma and Maria, Caribbean tourism leaders are urging travelers to return to the region — and soon.
Caribbean Tourism Organization Secretary General Hugh Riley made that call in his feature address at the CTO’s State of the Industry Conference in Grenada on Wednesday.
“Let us reaffirm our commitment to use the power of the Caribbean brand to convince discerning visitors that the way to enhance their own lives, is to take full advantage of the uniquely enjoyable vacation experiences this region has to offer, knowing full well that the best way to help the Caribbean is to visit the Caribbean,” Riley said in his address to assembled dignitaries, media, tourism executives and stakeholders.
Riley’s address looked at the questions surrounding the aftermath of the storms for Caribbean tourism, particularly the balancing of rebuilding, recovery and rebranding, between honoring and supporting affected countries and sustaining the utterly vital regional economic driver of tourism.
“We have come to a place to share views on best practices, to exchange ideas on the way forward, to say thank you to neighbors and friends, to commiserate with each other, to celebrate being alive, and to take decisive actions that will help us to build economies that are sound and sustainable,” Riley said.
Riley pointed to the remarkable resilience of host country Grenada, which dealt with its own devastating hurricane, Ivan, in 2004, when things looked grim.
Now, Grenada is among the hottest up-and-coming destinations in the region.
There’s no greater example for the Caribbean – and no more appropriate host right now.