Caribbean Tourism Official Stresses Regional Marketing

MIAMI—Travel Agent was on site last week for the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference (CHTC), where Allen Chastanet, newly elected Chairman of the Carib-bean Tourism Organization (CTO), serving as keynote speaker at the opening ceremony, made it clear that there was more to worry about with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) than passport restrictions.  (Left to right): Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, Allen Chastanet and

If the Caribbean doesn't start getting serious about regional marketing, it will be in major trouble when most Caribbean travelers from the U.S. obtain their passports, said Chastanet.

"Once everyone has their passports in the next three to four years, they will be able to go anywhere," he said, referring to the WHTI, the passport restrictions enforced by the U.S. government in late January. "They will be able to go anywhere...and we could be in real trouble."

Chastanet stressed the importance of working as one, noting how backwards he thought it was that the Caribbean was willing to spend $750 million on hosting the recent Cricket World Cup but would never be able to raise even half that amount for regional marketing.

"We still have time to win this race," he said. "We need to stop measuring success based on what our competition is doing, but rather based on our potential. I don't believe there is a region in the world that has what people want more than the Caribbean." —Joe Pike