MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Choice Hotels International called on the Caribbean tourism industry to support efforts to promote the region as a single destination.

"Global competition is not a figment of our imaginations. It is real and the region has to elevate its game," said Bill Clegg, Choice's regional vice president of franchise service and programs, at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace. Choice's brands include Comfort Inn and Quality Inn.

Cooperative tourism promotion has long been advocated by Caribbean travel professionals in the private and public sectors. Last year, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) launched a regional marketing website.

Clegg said the Caribbean must find methods to embrace regional marketing and create greater awareness of the region's offerings as a leisure vacation option.

Clegg serves as regional vice president of the CHTA and is chairman of its membership committee.

Regional marketing programs developed by the CHTA and CTO "help to properly communicate the value of the Caribbean brand, but they can't succeed without more consolidated support from their members."

He echoed the sentiments of CTO's chairwomman, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, who urged tourism leaders to "commit to promoting the region as one destination throughout 2014, so that the Caribbean Tourism Development Co., which we own jointly with the CHTA, can bolster our campaign for the region's benefit."

Opportunities to grow tourism exist not only within the traditional source markets in North America and Europe but also in Asia Pacific and Latin America.

"We first have to get our act together and promote the Caribbean, with its many attractions, as one region," Clegg said.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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