The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association is urging tourism stakeholders to use the experience of last year’s devastating hurricane season as an example of how the region can unite in the interest of the important tourism industry.
Karolin Troubetzkoy made the remarks in a New Year’s message entitled Caribbean united in recovery and renewal.
She lauded the level of regional unity displayed in responding to the challenges and consequences of the hurricanes.
“We saw how unified approaches enable us to recover and to become more resilient — so now, let’s use that knowledge and experience and make our sector more resilient and find strengthened and unified approaches to marketing, branding and promotion,” Troubetzkoy said.
Troubetzkoy is pushing for the Caribbean to be marketed as a single brand, saying it was time to put action to years of talk.
“We have been talking about public-private partnerships to promote tourism and make it the main economic driver for years, but it is time to put some sustained funding behind these well-meaning words and finally make it happen.”
The CHTA President said failure of a sustained regional tourism marketing initiative has already resulted in serious consequences. She pointed to the fact that international media were unable to recognize how much of the Caribbean was affected following last year’s hurricanes.
“Not everyone in our industry, including tourism authorities and governments in the Caribbean, is convinced that a regional marketing initiative is needed. Some are unaware that a Caribbean brand exists. I feel compelled to note that the press coverage after the hurricanes has shown us that we are being identified as a brand whether we believe in such a brand or not. Therefore, we must be able to act and, more important, react when that brand is threatened.”
Troubetzkoy said there is much work to be done in order to move the Caribbean’s tourism industry forward, including
- Raising our voice and our readiness to mitigate the impact of the effects of hurricanes, climate change, mosquito-borne diseases, political uncertainty, and other challenges facing our region;
- Focusing on the development of our people, including formally integrating the voice of the region’s youth through a new CHTA governance mechanism;
- Putting in place a regional tourism communications and marketing initiative, which by example will convince more of our public and private sector stakeholders of the value of a sustained regional tourism marketing and development initiative;
- Unveiling our new strategic outline, which focuses on concerted action in the years ahead.
Karolin Troubetzkoy will complete her two-year Presidency of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in June. She will be succeeded by Patricia Affonso-Dass of the Ocean Hotels group in Barbados.