Caribbean tourism ministers press Heads of Government for regional summit

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Ricky” Skerritt

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JANUARY 22ND 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Richard “Ricky” Skerritt is among regional tourism officials calling on Caribbean heads of government to convene a regional summit on tourism within the next six months to discuss key issues affecting the industry.

In a resolution approved by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) board of directors on Sunday, the Caribbean leaders are being urged to consider with industry leaders all major aspects of tourism including airlift, travel facilitation, marketing, visitor security, human resource development, the environment and new ways to encourage economic growth through a common approach to the problems facing the industry.

“Such a summit would enable the Caribbean, as the most tourism dependent region in the world, to address global competition and return to the levels of success last seen in 2006,” the CHTA said in a statement.

CHTA said there is need for governments and the tourism industry to continue working closely together to increase employment, foreign exchange, investment and gross domestic product (GDP) growth at a time of economic uncertainty and the challenges the tourism industry as a whole now faces.

Caribbean countries are highly dependent on the tourism industry for their revenues and employment.

Meanwhile, the CHTA said it will soon unveil a state-of-the-art website geared towards boosting tourism in the Caribbean.

“The new website will be a one-stop, complete and comprehensive site that will revolutionize the research and vacation planning process for millions of consumers around the world looking for a vacation in the leading warm weather destination – the Caribbean,” said Beverly N. Nicholas-Doty, Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Commissioner of Tourism for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC) jointly owned by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) will re-launch the regional marketing website, with enhanced design and search capability.

Driven by the necessity to compete in an aggressively competitive global travel marketplace, the Caribbean created the state-of-the-art, online portal which will act as the collective home for all countries in the region.

Nicholas-Doty said the revitalized website will set a new standard for promoting the Caribbean and will become the cornerstone of cooperative regional strategy for the Caribbean brand.

“This cutting-edge website will provide consumers with full responsive web design implementation for optimal user experience across desktops, tablet and mobile devices,” said Nicholas-Doty.

The destination sections of the website will comprise country branded micro-sites and fresh editorial content.

CHTA president Richard J. Doumeng said the website’s advanced searching capabilities will make finding the Caribbean resort easier than ever and will allow hoteliers, restaurants, attractions and other visitor activities the ability to showcase their properties.

“ will act as a single, centralized source for exploring and promoting the CHTA’s member hotels, resorts, restaurants and activities,” he said.

Rafael Cardozo, President of Tambourine, a global destination and hospitality branding and marketing firm responsible for the redesign and implementation of the website said the site, utilizing the latest programming languages and dynamic database driven technology, was conceived for long-term solution and to serve the Caribbean into the future.

“From advanced destination mapping features, to comprehensive social media integration and robust rich media presentation capabilities, is a comprehensive destination and hotel marketing platform never before seen in the region,” said Cardozo.

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