FORT DE FRANCE, Martinique -- The stage is set for the launch of the Caribbean’s most important gathering on tourism development, the Caribbean Tourism Organization(CTO)’s State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC). The conference opens here on Wednesday with a ceremony that is expected to feature addresses from several dignitaries, including Serge Letchimy, the congressman to the French Assembly and president of the Regional Council of Martinique; the country’s tourism commissioner, Karine Roy-Camille and the chairman of the CTO, Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
During two full days of passionate exchanges delegates will exchange ideas with leading Caribbean and international tourism experts on a range of elements that are critical to the development and success of the sector in the region. These include training and education, service quality, standards, visitor satisfaction, and regional transportation.
In a pre-conference message, the CTO chairman urged delegates to come up with creative solutions to the challenges facing the sector.
“Strong inter-sectoral linkages with industries such as agriculture, construction and the financial services sector, for example, place additional responsibility on all of us in tourism to emerge from this conference with a stronger plan for a more sustainable and more resilient tourism sector. Over the next few days we have an opportunity to look clinically at all aspects of our industry and chart the way forward. Creative solutions are needed on all fronts, particularly on matters of increasing taxation; optimizing arrivals and revenues from emerging and existing source markets; airlift stability; the pursuit of sustainability in the face of constrained financial resources; and most importantly pooling our resources to strengthen the Caribbean brand in the marketplace. Lip service can no longer be the order of our days,” said Nicholson-Doty, who is also the commissioner of tourism for the US Virgin Islands.
The State of the Industry conference which brings together decision-makers from the public and private sectors, academics, government officials, hoteliers, travel professionals and journalists from the region and around the world, runs through to 18 October
Themed, “Perfecting the Experience. Delivering Authenticity,” the conference is organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in collaboration with the Martinique Tourism Authority.