FAJARDO, Puerto Rico -- Keynote speaker Gordon "Butch" Stewart,
chairman, Sandals Resorts International, addressed the Caribbean
Hotel Industry Conference in Puerto Rico with a call for a
"refocusing of strategy" to ensure that the Caribbean keeps pace
with its global competitors.
Stewart called for new legislation to facilitate opportunities
for growth in each destination -- allocation of money for marketing
and advertising rather than higher salaries.
Stewart cited the Dominican Republic as a destination that has
successfully made marketing work, as evidenced by increased tourism
He also called to diversify products so that consumers have more
reasons to visit by offering heritage, history, culture, ecotourism
and entertainment, and make better use of technology in terms of
distribution outlets and in the face of more sophisticated
Other news from the show:Ralph Taylor, Caribbean Hotel Association, announced that a
CARICOM Tourism Summit will take place in October in Nassau,
Bahamas for the first time in 10 years.Taylor also announced that $1.5 million has been raised for the
pilot project of the regional marketing program called Great Places
in the Caribbean. The project will launch later this year.New president-elect of CHA for the 2002-2004 term is Simon
Suarez, executive vice president of development, Coral Hotels &
Resorts, Dominican Republic. He assumes office in January.
Meanwhile, Jorge Pescara, executive director of Puerto Rico
Tourism Co., called for a number of initiatives to drive the
tourism product in Puerto Rico.
Those initiative included: expansion of airlift and number of
carriers serving Puerto Rico; improvement of cruise ship piers in
San Juan; improved signage throughout the country, targeted
marketing of the island's west coast as well as the offshore
islands of Vieques and Culebra.
Pescara said niche target markets include nature, adventure and