The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will not hold its annual State of the Industry Conference this year but will return in 2020 with a restructured program, based on a review of past events and input from CTO members, according to a spokesperson.

The CTO's first annual tourism conference was held in June 1977 in Venezuela, and it has taken place every year since except in 1986 and in 2001, although the conference was renamed the State of the Industry Conference in 2011. Its most recent conference, in 2018, was in the Bahamas.

The organization is without a permanent secretary general at the moment -- Neil Walters has stepped in following the retirement of Hugh Riley, and a search is being conducted for permanent replacement. In the meantime, the organization is reviewing its mission, program, focus and activities and is getting input and suggestions from the member countries.

The expectation for the 2020 State of the Industry conference is to have a new secretary general in place and a new mission statement to present to members, according to CTO officials. 

However, meetings and events are still ongoing. The CTO will host a forum for government members at the Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa in Antigua on Oct. 4 to share information about growth and development plans for the Caribbean market.

And in partnership with the St. Vincent & The Grenadines Tourism Authority, the CTO will host the Sustainable Tourism Conference in St. Vincent on Aug. 26 through 29. The event will examine issues that impact on the future growth of Caribbean tourism, including climate change, resource management and community involvement. Elizabeth Thompson, Barbados' ambassador to the United Nations, will deliver the keynote address.

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