As one of the leading tourism destinations, Jamaica was once again in the spotlight at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO’s) State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) that took place in Turks & Caicos Wednesday, October 10, through Thursday, October 12. The conference, which returned after a 5-year hiatus, followed two days of destination briefings for members of the media and business meetings.
“CTO’s SOTIC is an event that brings together government and private sector tourism leaders from its member nations to examine issues and opportunities facing the industry in the region,” said Donovan White, Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board. “Therefore, it is important that Jamaica was able to have a strong presence and leadership position in the event’s comeback year. A number of ideas for growth and partnership were identified and it was wonderful to network with so many regional colleagues in-person at the same time and place.”
Jamaica’s Leadership Role in the Conference
Hailed as the most thought-provoking and important session of the conference, Director White presided over an expert group of panelists from the Caribbean and Americas region. These included: Peter Cerda, Regional Vice President, The Americas, IATA (International Air Transport Association); Dr. Rafael Echevarne, Director General, Airports Council International, Latin America & the Caribbean (ACILAC); and the Hon. Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation and Investment, Antigua & Barbuda.
Under the theme, “Aviation Competitiveness in the Caribbean,” the lively panel discussion focused on issues impacting intra-regional air travel, including the hot topic of 7th freedom rights and the Multilateral Air Services Agreement. Dialog also touched on factors that hold back the competitiveness of air services development in the Caribbean, the potential for multi-tiering, utilizing technology across various components of the travel experience, the need for private-public collaboration and more.
Director White’s Role in the Conference
Prior to leading the aviation panel discussion, Director White conducted a press briefing for attending top media from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Caribbean and Latin America. His presentation provided these journalists with the latest tourism statistics for Jamaica as well as news about hotel and infrastructure developments planned and underway throughout the island. Director White, along with Mrs. Nicola Madden-Greig, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) President, also took the time to show support for Deja Bremmer, Jr. Minister of Tourism, Jamaica, who participated in the Caribbean Youth Congress on Friday, October, 13.
“Overall, I feel this was a very productive event for Jamaica as we continue to build our tourism sector to never-before-experienced heights,” concluded Director White. “To have the opportunity for so many critical discussions on the obstacles and opportunities for growth for our destination and the Caribbean as a whole, I look forward to the myriad potential collaborations that may be generated as a result.”
Photo – Jamaica Tourist Board