CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Monday September 15, 2014, CMC – The Secretary General of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Hugh Riley, says while the Caribbean is forecasting another increase in arrivals for 2014, it is equally vital that it continues to increase its share of the global tourism market.
Speaking to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) ahead of the September 17-19 State of the Industry conference (SOCIT) in the United States Virgin Islands, Riley said the CTO was heartened at the fact that arrivals to the region continue to grow and the prognosis for the industry remains good.
“In the Caribbean, arrivals continue to grow and thankfully we are now seeing the relationship between actual arrivals and revenue from those arrivals beginning to climb once again.
“So we see incomes starting to increase, so that earnings to spend is going up. So the prognosis is good from that point of view,” he noted.
However the Secretary General cautioned that it was vital that the Caribbean focuses on staying “ahead of the curve”, and on how the rest of the world is performing.
“For while we want our numbers to continue to increase with the Caribbean crossing the 25 million mark at the end of last year, and we are forecasting that we will again see an increase on that by the end of 2014, certainly if you look at the increase so far this year, there is every reason to believe that, all things being equal we will see another increase in arrival by the end of 2014,” he said.
But Riley asserts that this was not the only metric, noting that the Caribbean needed to ensure it was gaining market share and that while the rest of the world was getting involved in the tourism business, this region was increase its share of the pie.
“So while the prognosis is good, there is an absolute need for us to come to places where there is information on what’s happening around the world, places where we can consider solutions to our problems and where information is available about our best practices and inspire creative thought.
“We must be able to leave the conference feeling charged up to go out and do something different, go out and change something for the better in the business that we belong,” he noted.
Caribbean and global tourism stakeholders gather in St. Thomas to discuss and devise strategies to position Caribbean tourism for major change.
SOTIC is being organised in collaboration with the USVI’s department of tourism.