(CMC) — Chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Dominic Fedee, Tuesday announced the closure of the organisation’s offices in the United Kingdom and New York as part of its efforts to “play a stronger role in the new era of tourism development”.
Fedee, who is also the Minister of Tourism in St Lucia, said that in addition to the closure of the New York office in December this year and the United Kingdom by January 31, next year, there will also be a “comprehensive audit of the Barbados office”.
He said that over the past two decades, there has been much discussion surrounding the promotion and development of tourism in the Caribbean.
“While there have been many visions, plans, papers written and philosophies espoused, there has been widespread acceptance that much improvement is needed to elevate tourism development in the region.”
Fedee said that some of the most discussed aspirations range from marketing the Caribbean as a single brand, more in-depth research, and a greater uniformed approach to policy formulation and product development.
“The Caribbean Tourism Organization therefore recognises that it plays a most essential role in the changes required to achieve the long held view to enhance tourism’s role as a tool for sustainable development among member states.
“Consequently, we are of the firm view that in order to play a stronger role in the new era of tourism development, we have to reinvent and reposition the organization as a pillar upon which tourism advancement can rest.”
Fedee said that the restructuring exercise is expected to significantly reduce the operational expenditures of CTO, giving it more capacity to undertake its key functions of regional marketing, statistics and research, and product development.
“CTO notes that this exercise will lead to some displacement, but firmly believes that it represents a strong revitalisation of the organisation. This is a necessary process to ensure tourism plays its most vital role as a means to bring about opportunity and prosperity for the people of the Caribbean,” Fedee added.
The CTO is regarded as the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of Dutch, English, French and Spanish countries and territories, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members.
Its primary objective is to provide to and through its members the services and information necessary for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people by a number of initiatives including providing an instrument for close collaboration in tourism among the various territories, countries and other interests concerned as well as “developing a tourism product which is essentially Caribbean and which, through maximising economic benefits, has minimal adverse social and psychological effects on the integrity of Caribbean peoples”.