‘Tourism not at heart of the region’
In an article published recently in the Jamaica Gleaner, St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism, Allan Chastanet, while addressing a meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association, again, hit the nail on the tourism head. (See Jamaica Gleaner – Tourism Not At Heart Of Region)
Minister Chastanet said…
‘As Caribbean tourism figures decline, the region’s governments have been criticised for spending billions of dollars on the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup, while the regional marketing campaign could not even raise the necessary US$4 million for its crucial ‘One Caribbean’ promotion’.
‘the West Indies Cricket Board did a better job convincing the heads of government to meet five times and coerced them to spend US$750 million on Cricket World Cup 2007’.
Chastanet continued… ‘We should be crying. We should be in crisis meetings to figure out what went wrong’.
Adding ‘that the joke was on the people of the region’!
‘Here is something so incredible (the regional marketing campaign), here is something so necessary yet we couldn’t manage to convince our leaders that tourism deserved that same type of attention’.
He stated ‘that in the last 15 years, Caribbean tourism has had a 3.7 market share, meaning it has been in a dismal period, compared to the potential in world growth’, which is projected to grow by 4.5 per cent over the next 10 years’.
As someone that has spent virtually his entire working life (41 years) in the tourism industry, I applaud Mr Chastanet for having the fortitude to tell it like it is and not as other policymakers, simply hide their heads under the sand and just occasionally, utters words that observers think we would like to hear.
17 June 2007