Alec Sanguinetti says tourists want more than beaches – they want history.
The director general and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association says the region has to address serious problems with competitiveness. And to do that, more consideration must be given to history.
“How competitive is the Caribbean product?”
Citing a $5 billion loss in tourism spend between 2000 and 2010 for the Caribbean, Alec Sanguinetti believes tourists are now looking for more than beaches and great weather. He told Guardian Business the cultural nuances that make various countries unique must take center stage.
“Travelers today are looking for an experience,” Sanguinetti said. “The beach is there. The people and the hospitality are there. We need to keep building on our attractions and culture, and not let our history disappear. ”
The comments come shortly after the formal announcement by Sanguinetti and local tourism officials that Caribbean Marketplace 2012 will take place in The Bahamas from January 22 to January 24.
While representatives from the Bahamas Hotel Association and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism trumpeted the arrival of the conference, Sanguinetti wished to “temper that” with what he considers a dose of reality.
He stressed that it’s not just dollars and cents that matter. “This is the worst crisis we have ever faced,” he told the crowd. “It is how we go up against it that is critical. If we continue the way we are, our numbers will continue to decrease. One of the reasons it is decreasing is less visitors and length of stay, combined with economic pressures. But there is another factor. How competitive is the Caribbean product? ”
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