A proposed restructuring of the Caribbean Tourism Organization is in the works, according to Allen Chastanet, CTO chairman as well as minister of tourism and civil aviation for St. Lucia.

The restructuring calls for the formation of a Council of Ministers of Tourism, which would be separate from CTO's board of directors, currently composed of the tourism ministers.

 

Chastanet said that the directors of tourism for each member country would comprise CTO's board of directors, along with selected private-sector business professionals.

"The board's main focus will be on the business of the Caribbean," Chastanet said, "while the council will meet with industry professionals and leaders who will advise on the professional direction of the Caribbean."

Also on Chastanet's radar screen is a proposed tourism summit in 2008 with heads of government and Caricom (Caribbean Community) officials "to discuss funding, infrastructure, direction," he said.

Recognizing that the cruise sector is a "huge component" of Caribbean tourism, Chastanet said that he and six other tourism ministers would attend the annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association conference, being held Oct. 8 to 12 in Cozumel, Mexico.

Chastanet's own island of St. Lucia is under his scrutiny as he seeks approval for a restructuring of the tourist board with a focus on "bringing key policy makers into the mix, such as the ministers of finance and planning, and making the board more a business-like entity."

The St. Lucia tourist board recently funded a $3.5 million training program for locals that will be implemented by each new hotel under development on the island.

Upgraded attractions, including a "massive spa facility" near St. Lucia's "drive-in volcano" site at Sulfur Springs, a new "Sea World-type" attraction in the south, and redevelopment plans for Castries harbor also are in the works.

Chastanet was honored Sept. 19 as one of five honorees of Counterpoint International's World Leadership Awards.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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