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Caribbean Tourism Organisation News

Welcome to the 25th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference -After months of planning, the
stage is now set for the opening of 25th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-25) which
comes at possibly the most challenging period in the fifty-year history of the Caribbean Tourism
Organization (CTO). At present, the industry continues to struggle to recover from the effects of
September 11, 2001 and subsequent global events. The latest statistics compiled by the CTO's
Research and Information Management Division indicate that arrivals were down 9.0 percent between
January and June 2002, following a 10.7 percent fall in the Winter. "CTO and its membership are
hoping that CTC-25 can set the platform from which the downward trend can be reversed," stated Karen
Ford-Warner, deputy secretary general of CTO. A sustained and aggressive marketing campaign has
been identified as one way to get visitors coming back to the Caribbean. The conference will explore
various ways to market the region during the second general session dubbed, "A Non-Traditional View
of Cooperative Marketing." "This most instructive and provocative topic serves as just one of the
important reasons for travel agents and tourism industry professionals to attend the conference, an
event that gives participants the opportunity to be part of reinventing the region's tourism industry,"
said Hugh Riley, the CTO's director of marketing for the Americas. 

SG to CTC Delegates: It Can't Be Business As Usual- The Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism
Organization (CTO), Jean Holder has emphasized the need for industry leaders and officials to seek
new and innovative ways to market the region. "The events of September 11, 2001 have made obvious
the fact that it cannot be business as usual," Mr. Holder states in a message to delegates attending
CTC- 25. But the secretary general suggests that there is already recognition of this fact. "We are
optimistic that the recently completed Caribbean Tourism Strategic Plan offers ways to reposition the
region's tourism industry in the 21st century," he states. Mr. Holder states in his message that the
theme for CTC-25, Reinventing Caribbean Tourism, "emphasizes the daunting challenges that face the
region's premier industry at this time." "The theme also demonstrates our commitment to tackling the
crisis and to improving our position in the global marketplace," the secretary general says in his
message which appears in the official CTC-25 programme. "CTC-25 will feature experts in virtually
every field that impacts on tourism's performance and during the course of the next few days, through
our plenaries, workshops and other functions we will try to find workable solutions to the many trials
that face the industry," Mr. Holder states, adding, "The fact that we are all here exhibits our
commitment to the continued growth and development of tourism within the Caribbean." 

Tourism's "Hottest" Issues To Be Debated at CTC-25- This year's 25th Annual Caribbean Tourism
Conference (CTC-25) will deal with some of the most controversial and provocative issues impacting on
Caribbean tourism, Hugh Riley, the CTO's director of marketing for the Americans has promised.
"(CTC-25) will be special," Mr. Riley said before leaving for Freeport to attend pre-conference meetings.
"Carefully selected speakers will share their expertise on tourism's hottest issues; from the financial
survival of trade and consumer groups, to controversial views of flight crew and passengers." One of
the most controversial and hotly debated questions facing the industry since September 11, 2001 is
whether pilots should be armed. This question, along with the contentious subject of airfares and who
decides what the passenger should pay, are among some of the "hottest" matters that CTC-25 will
deal with, Mr. Riley said. The CTO marketing director gave the assurance that all of the sessions would
be geared towards helping delegates increase their Caribbean tourism business. "Solutions to
problems affecting the development of a viable and sustainable tourism product will be addressed," Mr.
Riley said. "CTC-25 will provide an excellent opportunity for the regional public and private sectors to
evaluated the immense challenges of 2002 and to seek to chart new courses for the future," he
concluded. Bahamas Prime Minister Hon. Perry Christie will keynote the conference, which opens on
October 28, 2002 at Our Lucaya Golf and Beach Club, Grand Bahama Island. 

Caribbean Youth Take Spotlight at CTC-25 - Fifteen young, bright and articulate students from
CTO member states will represent their countries as "Ministers of Tourism" at the second Youth
Congress at CTC-25. The Youth Congress is organised by CTO, in collaboration with Travel +
Leisure magazine. It is structured to mirror a CTO Board of Directors Meeting and the participants
discuss topics that are pertinent to Caribbean tourism. "The Youth Congress is a highly educational and
exciting event for the students who get to discuss tourism issues with industry experts," stated Bonita
Morgan, CTO's director of Human Resource Development. "They also get to experience hands on, how
various sectors in the industry work." The Youth Congress aims to stimulate greater awareness and
excitement about tourism among young people in the Caribbean by allowing them to research various
facets of the tourism sector and share their ideas and visions with respect to the future directions for
Caribbean tourism. This year the 14 to 17 year old "Ministers of Tourism" will discuss Building a Culture
of Peace Through Tourism, Developing a Quality Service Culture in the Caribbean and Improving
Intra-Caribbean Travel to Reap Greater Benefits for Caribbean Countries. "Their recommendations will
be shared with an audience of Ministers of Tourism and other senior tourism practitioners from the
private and public sector who will be in attendance at the event," Mrs. Morgan said. The first Youth
Congress was held at CTC - 24 in Barbados in 2000. "Our young people performed admirably and
showed a level of preparation and intensity that was quite extraordinary, while the countries present
were proud to be associated with the event," Mrs. Morgan said of the inaugural Youth Congress. 


This year, we once again celebrate Caribbean Tourism Day on the 5th November 2002 and our
chosen theme is "Tourism, a tool for Sustainable Development." We are mindful that the world has
changed dramatically in the past thirteen months because of heinous terrorist attacks. Everyone's life
has been affected, but because terror is the mortal enemy of travel and tourism, those of us who work
in that industry have been presented with challenges the like of which have never been seen before.
The events of September 11, 2001, in New York and Washington, followed by Tunisia and Yemen and
Bali in 2002, have had a deleterious impact on Caribbean and global tourism. As a direct result of
these events, millions of jobs and billions of dollars have been lost around the world. Every sub-sector
of the tourism industry has been negatively impacted and both small and massive enterprises are
fighting for survival. Here in our Caribbean which is four times more dependent on tourism for its
socio-economic development than any other part of the world, our economies have suffered a great
deal. We are conscious therefore that the situation calls for special efforts and we have no option but
to fight our way back to economic health. As difficult as these times may be, therefore, they present us
with opportunities to reassess, re-examine and re-discover the tourism industry, which more than any
other, has the potential to contribute to the sustainable development of our people and region. 

We start with many advantages. We are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, and our people
in the Caribbean have created a way of life, and a way of looking at life, that have proven irresistible
for millions of people around the globe who seek their own special place for relaxation, recreation and
rejuvenation. The Caribbean Tourism brand is unique, diverse and special; and I remain confident
about the resilience of the industry and that of Caribbean people to cope with, and conquer the current
crisis. The region's public and private sectors have together created a regional Tourism Strategic Plan
which seeks to guide us on our way over the next 10 years and has a vision of a Caribbean tourism
industry that is fully understood and embraced by the peoples of the region and which, through
cooperative action among governments and with the private sector, makes a significant and
sustainable contribution to development in both mature and emerging destinations. This when
translated into simple language means a tourism industry that brings direct benefits to our
communities, alleviate poverty, preserves our cultural patrimony and our environment and generally
speaking contributes towards elevating the quality of life of all our people. The plan gives detailed
prescriptions for solutions to our problems but we need to do what we have not done well in the past,
which is to move from conception to execution. 

Last week in the Bahamas when the 25th Annual Tourism Conference of CTO
opened, two groups of young people, some under 3 years of age and others under
20, sat among an audience of some 1000 delegates to hear the Prime Minister of
the Bahamas speak to the theme of Reinventing Caribbean Tourism. He was
followed by several well known experts in the field. But when the youth of the region
were later given a chance to say how they saw tourism and what shape it should take
in the future, their ideas were so creative and their thoughts so profound, that it
brought tears to the eyes of their audience. As I speak to the young people from
schools assembled at CTO today to celebrate Caribbean Tourism Day, I have considerable hope that
you understand, as many of your elders did not, that tourism can be a great tool for Caribbean tourism
development, but that it requires that each and everyone of us understand what is involved in this
process and makes a commitment to do his or her part. There is much that you will have to put right.
But you are our future and the future belongs to you. As we celebrate Caribbean Tourism Day 2002, I
suggest that we recognize the many advantages we have in this region to make tourism succeed in the
future. We must also accept the fact that the new approach to Caribbean Tourism will require us to
achieve the highest quality levels that will permit us to compete in a global marketplace and meet
international standards, while satisfying our own objectives for achieving sustainability. Have a Happy
Caribbean Tourism Day. 

Cautious Optimism for Caribbean Tourism in 2003

The Caribbean Tourism Organization is cautiously optimistic about the outlook for the industry's performance in
2003. Secretary-General, Jean Holder, says the region expects modest increases in the winter season, based on
reports reaching the CTO so far. While prospects for the Caribbean in the US market continue to be good, there is
still some concern over the recovery of the long haul market. Since September 11, Europeans are staying closer to
home so travel within Europe is up. This has affected Caribbean business out of Europe significantly. While some recovery in the long haul market is expected for winter 2003, of note is that some of the UK business (23% of the overall European market) is likely to be diverted to South Africa due to the World Cup. The uncertainty surrounding developments in the Middle East is also cause for concern. A war there would not only increase the atmosphere of uncertainty for all travellers, but would raise the price of oil (now US$33.00 a barrel) and an airline fuel bill (now US $40 billion) to even higher levels.
This would push a number of already struggling airlines over the edge. The CTO expects that given no war in 2003,
Caribbean tourism will reach 2000 levels this year and resume real growth in 2004. 
2002 Caribbean Tourism Performance Most of the positive growth for the region took place in the US and UK markets during the last quarter of 2002 and this has carried over to 2003. Preliminary estimates from reporting destinations (20 of 31 CTO member countries) indicate that up to October 2002, arrivals were down by approximately 6%. This was due to a difficult Winter 2002 season when the region was down approximately 10%. Each successive month after May 2002 registered significant improvements with both the US and UK market rebounding in the summer months. The Caribbean's proximity to the US market and its reputation for peace and tranquillity in a world of uncertainty and instability, were definite assets. All this was reinforced by increased government support and creative marketing efforts, which included increased expenditure at both the national and regional levels. For a number of reasons many more air seats also became available and at competitive prices. On the other hand, the tendency of consumers to travel nearer home, gave great momentum to interregional travel, which meant for example that many Europeans and Asians travelled to each others' countries or within their own countries, instead of travelling the Atlantic. Middle Eastern travel to the United States, for example, has been noticeably reduced. Europe, which had begun to perform poorly in 2000 due to weak economies and weak currencies, was even more severely impacted by the terrorist events of 9/11/2001 which struck a blow at long haul
travel. There were other contributors, including the fact that Europe is very much a tour operator/charter driven market and while many of the schedule services were maintained, the region lost much of the charter traffic which always constitutes a major share of European business. 

2002 International Tourism Performance Initial reports from the World Tourism Organization (WTO) indicate that contrary to many of the gloomy predictions, international tourist arrivals in 2002 not only grew by more than 22 million over 2001, which was a very difficult year, but by 19 million over 2000. It should be noted that 2000 was a bumper year in which many extravagant world events like the Olympics and the World Cup had pushed travel up over 1999 by some 7 per cent. The 2002 results, which saw international arrivals break the 700 million mark for the first time ever, once more underscore the resilience of the tourism sector, even in the most difficult global environment of political and economic uncertainty. The World Tourism Organization Report however estimates that the Americas was the only region in the world to close 2002 in the red, with the Caribbean being down at the end of 2002 by 3 per cent or more. Secretary General of CTO, Jean Holder, states however that Caribbean tourism business declined by some 16 per cent during the last quarter of 2001 as a direct result of the terrorist events of 9/11/2001 and after a very difficult start in the first half of 2002, being 3 to 4 per cent down by the end of the year must be seen as a major recovery. 

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization The Caribbean Tourism Organization is the region's
tourism development agency comprising 31 member governments and a myriad of private sector
companies with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and
Toronto. The CTO's primary objective is to provide to and through its members, the services and
information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of
the Caribbean people. The organisation provides specialized support and technical assistance to
member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and statistics and
sustainable tourism development. For more information, please contact CTO Headquarters at One Financial Place, Lower Collymore Rock, Barbados; tel: (246) 427-5242; fax: (246) 429-3065; e- mail; CTO's New York office can be reached at 80 Broad Street, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10004, USA; Tel: (212) 635-9530; Fax: (212) 635- 9511; Email: CTO's London office can be reached at 42 Westminister Palace Gardens, Artillery row, London
SW1P 1RR; Tel: 171-222-4335; Fax: 171-222-4325; Email:; CTO Canada can be reached at Taurus House, 512 Duplex Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4R 2E3; Tel: 416-485-8724; Fax: 416-485-8256; Email: Visit CTO on the web at and 
Strong Caribbean Presence at ITB

The Caribbean will be prominently featured at one of the world's leading travel exhibitions, the International
Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin 2003 which takes place in the German city of Berlin from March 7-11, 2003.
Twenty-eight (28) of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)'s 32 member countries are among the 181
countries and territories participating in the event. As it has done every year since 1980, CTO will coordinate a
Caribbean Village at the Berlin Exhibition Ground, site of the tourism trade fair. 

"CTO fulfills an extremely important role through the Caribbean Village by providing an opportunity for our membership in
both the public and private sectors, many of whom could not otherwise do it on their own, to exhibit their products and to
deal with some very significant business matters," said Jean Holder, CTO's secretary general. In addition to the Caribbean
Village, CTO will host the 4th Caribbean Forum where Mr. Holder, Arley Sobers, CTO's director of research and information
management, Jo Spalburg, CTO's deputy director of marketing in Europe and Phillippe Boucard, chairman of AG Karibik
will address a range of issues relating to Caribbean tourism. They will also launch this year's marketing programme in
Germany. AG Karibik is CTO's Central European Chapter and is collaborating with CTO to host the forum. 

"The forum will present yet another opportunity for the Caribbean to make further inroads into the important German and
European markets and to send a clear signal to the entire tourism world that the region remains the best option for a relaxed
and enjoyable vacation," added Mr. Holder. Indicators for 2003 suggest that while bookings from Europe for the winter
season are better than in 2002, they are still below expected levels. The major Caribbean destinations for European visitors
- Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica - all registered declines in arrivals from this market in 2002.
However, some other destinations, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, and the Turks and Caicos Islands recorded increased
arrivals ranging from 2.1 percent to 15.8 percent in European visitors. 

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London
and Toronto, is the Caribbean's tourism development agency and comprises membership of 32 governments and a myriad
of private sector companies. The CTO's mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information
needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people. The
organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human
resource development, research and statistics and sustainable development. The CTO disseminates information on behalf
of its member governments to consumers and the travel trade.