OECS Tourism Ministers to discuss Single OECS Tourism Economic Space at High Level Meeting in St. Lucia

Rodinald Soomer

Castries, St. Lucia (April 17, 2010): OECS Ministers for Tourism will discuss planned efforts towards establishing the OECS region as a single tourism economic space when St. Lucia hosts the 9th Meeting of the OECS Council of Tourism Ministers on Tuesday April 20th 2010.

The idea of a single tourism economic space will be presented by the OECS Secretariat as part of a package of interventions being submitted for the consideration of the European Union under the 10th EDF regional programme, which is geared towards supporting implementation of the OECS Economic Union.

Head of the Macro Economic Development Policy Unit at the OECS Secretariat Rodinald Soomer says this is among several agenda items for the OECS Tourism Ministers meeting: “At a time when there is still some level of anxiety over the lingering impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the region’s tourism performance, the OECS Tourism Ministers have focused their agenda on strategic analysis of some of the critical issues facing the tourism industry in the region.” In that regard, another highlight of the meeting includes a presentation by the CEO of LIAT on the current status and future plans of the airline. This will furnish Ministers with an opportunity for policy dialogue on wider air access and travel facilitation issues affecting the region’s tourism industry.

Also listed as a major agenda item is a presentation by the International Financial Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, during which the OECS Ministers will explore possible interventions to assist the tourism industry’s recovery process and to enhance the OECS region’s competitiveness.

The establishment of an OECS Centre of Excellence for Hospitality and Tourism Training, strengthening of agro-tourism linkages, as well as joint tourism product development and joint marketing are among other topics at the OECS Tourism Ministers meeting.

Host country, St. Lucia will also be showcasing a number of ‘good practices” in areas such as the implementation of the Tourism Satellite Accounting System and the proposed establishment of a Maritime and Hospitality Institute.

The 9th Meeting of the OECS Council of Tourism Ministers will take place at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort in Gros Islet. Delegates are expected from most OECS Member States, other Eastern Caribbean countries and from regional tourism organisations including the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.

The OECS Council of Tourism Ministers is the premiere meeting of tourism policy leaders in the OECS, which is held annually on a rotation basis.

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