CTO's Holder: Plan a 'guide to further action'

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The final version of the Caribbean's Regional Tourism Strategic Plan will be submitted to Caricom (Caribbean Community) heads of government by July 31.

The plan will be used regionally and nationally "as a guide to further action for the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the private sector and funding agencies," said Jean Holder, CTO secretary general.

A draft of the plan, which proposed raising money for Caribbean tourism through a sustainable fund, was submitted to Caricom at its recent summit in Georgetown, Guyana.

Critical issues facing the region's tourism sector, according to the report, include the competitiveness of the product; the region's image and effectiveness in the marketplace; air and sea access; use of information technology in tourism; and protection of the environment.

Holder said that the plan's objectives include:

• An increase in annual tourism expenditures by 5% per year over the next 10 years;

• An increase in stayover arrivals by at least 1% above the world average growth, as estimated by the World Tourism Organization (WTO);

• An increase in the conversion of cruise tourists to stayover tourists;

• An increase in employment opportunities for Caribbean nationals and more tourism education and training;

• Improvements in the quality of service on all levels.

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