Reinventing Caribbean Tourism
Caribbean tourism professionals need to understand how the region fits into the new global
environment in order to find innovative ways to deal with the transformation that is taking
place, Karen Ford-Warner, deputy secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization
(CTO) has said.
"We cannot continue to do business as we have in the past and expect to reap the successes, or
maintain and improve our position because we are not operating in the same environment," she
explained. "For instance, the use of technology is critically important globally and the tourism industry
is very ripe for this sort of technological advance. We have to understand how we can use it in order to
position and promote ourselves better," Mrs. Ford-Warner said, who was expanding on the theme for
the 25th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-25), which takes place in Grand Bahama Island,
the Bahamas, on October 28-31, 2002. The theme for this year's conference is "Reinventing Caribbean
Tourism". Packed with dynamic speakers, seminars and workshops, CTC-25 will focus on practical
approaches to selling the Caribbean and will discuss concerns affecting the development of a viable
and sustainable tourism product. CTO and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism are preparing to welcome
over 1,000 delegates to the event.
Traditionally, the Caribbean has been a sun, sea and sand destination, but the CTO deputy secretary
general said the changes that were taking place in the global environment required that Caribbean
tourism officials concentrate on expanding and enhancing the tourism product offerings to include our
natural environment, our heritage and the involvement of our communities.
Ford-Warner also mentioned product development as another area in which we must reinvent ourselves
by creating a clear vision for Caribbean tourism going forward and ensuring that every action that is
taken towards benefiting the region is consistent with this vision. "When faced with these kinds of
challenges, such as in a situation of unprecedented change, it is crucial that you know how to use that
change to your advantage. Along with the challenge of reinventing Caribbean tourism, come the
challenge of reinventing ourselves, and we have to approach this new situation by clarifying how we see
this industry and how we are going to carry it forward," she said.
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