Redefinition of Tourism Post COVID Needed to Accelerate Growth in the Region

Redefinition of Tourism Post COVID Needed to Accelerate Growth in the Region

Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has urged regional tourism stakeholders to redefine the industry in what can now be described as the new post-COVID era.

Speaking at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association’s (CHTA) Travel Forum and Awards Luncheon today at Sandals Royal Barbados, Minister Bartlett said: “In this post-COVID era, we must as a region rethink and redefine the meaning of tourism if we are to maximize our earnings and growth. We must begin to appreciate the fact that tourism is so much more than hotels, cruise lines and attractions and that there are direct, indirect and induced economic benefits in the tourism value chain that can accelerate growth in the region.”

The CHTA Travel Forum, which was held under the theme, “Tourism the Key Driver of Generational Wealth for Caribbean Nationals” included Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport, Cayman Islands, and Chairman, Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO); Hon. Ian Gooding-Edghill, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Barbados, and Marc Melville, CEO, Chukka Caribbean.

“Tourism happens successfully because of all the sectors and subsectors that supply experiences, so there is a strong place for agriculture, technology, health and manufacturing and many more. The real wealth of tourism therefore lies in the capacity to supply on the demands of the industry,” added Minister Bartlett.

The Caribbean Travel Forum, held within the margins of CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace, is a new event focusing on the business of tourism in the Caribbean with specific emphasis on topics such as intra-Caribbean travel with a focus on air connectivity and multi-destination marketing, sustainability, technology innovations, labour market constraints and taxation.

“If 42% of people travel for just food, it means that suppliers of agricultural goods and services have the potential to really earn, and this is just one sector. We need to let everyone know that tourism is for them because once you have an idea you can convert that idea into tangible wealth,” Minister Bartlett noted.

The CHTA Travel Forum panel also looked at the impact of climate change and new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence on the tourism industry. Minister Bartlett in these discussions made another call for the establishment of a Resilience Fund that would allow every traveller to contribute a monetary sum towards their carbon footprints. He also embraced the new technologies that will shape tourism in the future by advocating for “training, training, training to ensure a better understanding to leverage them.”

The 41st CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace, being held in Barbados from May 9-11, is the largest regional annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services.


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