More attention must be paid to the sustainability of the region’s tourism industry.
Commencing with the training and motivation of staff in the industry, the engagement and sense of ownership of the Caribbean people, the safety and security of citizens and guests, the quality of the experience delivered and the reliability of the information upon which governments and policy makers base their decisions.
This was emhasised by Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Hugh Riley, who this morning addressed the opening of the Tourism Satellite Account Regional Technical Coordinating Committee meeting at the CTO headquarters in Baobab Tower in Warrens, St. Michael.
Riley, who noted that the Caribbean was the most tourism dependant region in world, with an estimated three million of its people directly employed by the sector, said it was against this backdrop that the CTO’s Head of Research, Winfield Griffith, assembled a group of experts to perfect the measurement of tourism’s economic impact on the Caribbean through a system of TSA’s.”
As the organisation with the responsibility for leading sustainable tourism in the Caribbean, the CTO has a duty to ensure that our member countries, the policy makers as well as regular citizens of the Caribbean, are in possession of the tools to allow them to make informed decisions if we are to effectively compete in the tourism business. The most important tools is authentic, reliable information,” he said.
TSA’s were said to be a globally accepted conceptual framework, developed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation for measuring the direct contribution of the tourism sector to the economy.
Charting way forward
In 2011, the CTO signed an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank to execute the regional TSA’s implementation initiative. Today’s meeting under the theme Harmonising Regional Tourism Statistics Through Tourism Satellite Accounts, was to discuss the TSA’s readiness of the participating countries and to chart the way forward in establishing and maintaining a well coordinated system of TSA’s in the Caribbean.
Team leader at the Inter-American Development Bank, Mariko Russell, said that some experimental TSA’s were previously carried out, however, there had been no coordinated system across the region for developing them.
This meant, he added, that people made their efforts but the efforts were not well documented and shared and as a result did not benefit other countries. However, in order for the region, as a whole, to go forward there was need for more coordinated efforts.
Russell further stated that she believed such a coordinated approach could maximise the synergy necessary for advancement in the sector but to take that effort even further it was very important that the statistics produced from the initiative be utilised by policy makers. (KC)††