The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has called for a formal partnership between the region’s tourism sector and those responsible for implementing the United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act, known as H.R. 2939.
The CTO says the Act which was passed in the United States Congress in last December and signed into law by then US President Barack Obama, mandates a new long-term strategy to strengthen ties between the US and the Caribbean region.
The Barbados based organization is designed to increase the security, prosperity and well-being of the people of the United States and the Caribbean.
Tourism working group
CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley, addressed the importance of the Act to Caribbean tourism at a recent meeting in Washington. He referenced a tourism working group established by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders at their meeting in Guyana in February to guide the development and marketing of Caribbean tourism.
Riley said this appears to align with the US government’s strategy for the Caribbean on many areas related to sustainable development and a mechanism that incorporates the Caribbean’s tourism working group with the entities tasked with implementing H.R.4939.
He said it would be a “winning formula” for both the US and the Caribbean. “What an accomplishment it would be for all of us and for the architects of H.R. 4939 if we could report to our region’s prime ministers and presidents, when we meet in February, that there’s now a working partnership between the region’s tourism working group and the US/Caribbean Strategic Alliance,” said Riley. He was speaking on a panel focused on “Building Sustainable Economies,” part of an event staged by the Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA), titled: “Caribbean 2020 Implementing H.R. 4939 from Vision to Engagement.”
Protect 3rd border of US
“Our recommendation is that, together, we waste no time in making that partnership a reality. Without doubt, shoring up the Caribbean’s main economic driver is the surest way to protect the third border of the United States,” he added.
The CTO noted that the U.S. is the Caribbean’s primary trading partner, representing a vibrant economic partnership. In 2016 this partnership reflected a US$4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million US tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the US.
During his presentation, Riley called for a “balanced approach to the development of strategies and policies designed to spur tourism growth while protecting the resource base on which tourism depends.”