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Bahama Journal: **The Business of Tourism**
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Posted by:Jul 24th 2005, 04:31:10 pm
Fig Tree News TeamJuly 23, 2005 – 11:17
Former DG Touts Business Of Tourism
We must capture the attention of our politicians so that they make tourism a priority on their agendas and in their budgets.

Tourism professionals from around the region who converge on the United States Virgin Islands this October are expected to explore the business of the industry that primarily drives economies across the region.

As he commented on the next installment of the Caribbean Tourism Organization's Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference, the newly installed Secretary General Vincent Vanderpool Wallace drew reference to the vital role that the industry plays in the economic stability of the Caribbean.

Tourism accounts for an estimated one in four jobs throughout the region and is responsible, on average, for more than 30 per cent of each country's gross national product.

"As a result of tourism's economic impact on the livelihood of people in the Caribbean, we must stress the importance of making tourism a top priority from the heads of state down to individual residents in their homes," said Mr. Vanderpool Wallace, who is also the former Tourism Director General of The Bahamas.

"Tourism should be present in every facet of our lives," the secretary general said.

Mr. Vanderpool-Wallace demitted office in June after securing the overwhelming endorsement of his regional counterparts. His former deputy Vernice Walkine became his successor.

He attempted to drive home the message that every Caribbean national, including leaders must see tourism as a top priority because of its importance to Caribbean economies.

The theme for the conference is Tourism: The Business of the Caribbean.

"We must educate our children about careers in tourism and adequately train employees already working in the industry. We must capture the attention of our politicians so that they make tourism a priority on their agendas and in their budgets," Mr. Vanderpool Wallace said.

The Barbados based CTO and the USVI are in the midst of putting together what is said to be an exciting programme of general sessions and workshops that will relate to the theme.

The conference programme will offer site inspections and niche market workshops for travel agents, the popular Travel + Leisure Youth Congress, the Condé Nast Essay Competition, the Great Caribbean Travel Game," the "Travel Writers/Photographers Awards programme, the CTO press conference and the closing gala.

The conference is the Caribbean region's premier caucus of tourism decision-makers and an important event on the calendar of tourism practitioners, as well as individuals seeking to do business with the Caribbean.

The Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort is the host hotel for the event conference, as well the meetings of the Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism and the Board of Directors, and Media Day which will begin on Friday, Oct. 21 and run through Sunday, Oct. 23.

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 over 30 member governments and a myriad of private sector entities.

Tourism officials in The Bahamas have reported that despite the ravages of two fierce hurricanes last September, visitor spending was at a record level last year with five million visitors spending some $1.88 billion here.

An independent government review showed that the hurricanes lead to a $100 million loss in visitor spending.

The Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe drew the conclusion that were it not for the devastating forces of Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, visitor spending would have exceeded the $2 billion mark for the first time in 2004.

Source: The Bahama Journal

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