The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has issued a statement applauding the efforts being made by the region's public and private sectors to grow tourism, but cautioning against the inherent risks if the sectors do not work more closely together to resolve differences.
With regional and global investor confidence critical to the Caribbean's tourism future, the organization called for more effective collaboration and pointed to tourism's immense contribution to employment, entrepreneurial activity, tax revenues and to its untapped potential to grow and develop to the benefit of the Caribbean's people, governments and the industry.
The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world and CHTA maintains that tourism's contribution to the region's economies can not be understated, generating more than 80 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in some jurisdictions.
Travel and tourism is already one of the world's largest economic sectors, supporting 292 million jobs, and is projected to become the largest in the next several years, according to a CHTA news release.
"Any discourse that casts aspersions on the motives of government or maligns our tourism industry players and their significant contributions to socio-economic development can not be good for our region," said Frank Comito, managing director and CEO of the CHTA, in the release. “In today's era of risk aversion for financing by banks and other investors, it is essential that we continue to advance an open and transparent investor-friendly environment.”
The common ground between the public and private sectors is far greater than points of difference, CHTA asserts, and the Caribbean should focus on what can be done together for the greater good while addressing differences in a manner that engenders confidence and trust.
Expressing concerns about those situations where the public and private sectors do not see eye-to-eye, Comito was confident that all parties, today and in the future, will rise above their differences to work together towards what's best all around.
“I have asserted that this collaboration was beneficial not only to the thousands of people directly benefiting from tourism, but also to the investors who have risked their resources and placed their confidence in the stability and predictability of investing in the region,” he said. "Our region has come a long way and we should remember these achievements as we move towards honorable conclusions to unfortunate misunderstandings.”