The recently-completed Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) in Montego Bay, Jamaica resulted in a variety of general session discussions in which optimism for the recovery of the hospitality and tourism industries was the reigning mood of the week.
Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) President Josef Forstmayr took the opportunity to remind attendees of the huge importance that tourism plays in the overall economic stability of the Caribbean nations and about the "Tourism is Key" campaign launched by CHTA a year ago to create greater awareness of the impact of tourism on the local economies across the region.
"A successful tourism development program requires several factors,” said Forstmayr. “Most prominent among these are investment, product development and promotions ...... Caribbean tourism leaders must come together to attract the necessary investments which will be needed to allow the Caribbean to maintain its attractiveness and visibility in a highly competitive industry."
Forstmayr also noted that "air lift is one of the top three items on developers' lists when researching investment opportunities. Affordable air service remains one of our biggest challenges.”
Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization noted that "the entire region is replete with examples of local and regional entrepreneurs who have seized the opportunity to sit at the controls of their own destiny.....Nothing builds confidence in the marketplace like seeing locals put their money where their mouth is."
Jamaica Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett talked about a new post-recession era for the Caribbean suggesting "what was good for the pre-recession cannot cut it for the post-recession. We have the talent, the resorts, the scenery, the energy and the intellect here to create a blueprint for a new Caribbean."