Cayman Islands Minister of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan, has been elected as the new chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). His first order of business is likely to be a response for the region to market itself as a single destination.
Bryan replaces Barbados Tourism Minister Lisa Cummins in the position for the next two years, acknowledging “that there needs to be some reform and restructuring, particularly with respect to air travel and marketing.
“So I’m ready to take on the challenge, in collaboration with my regional colleagues, of finding a new way forward, as well as addressing any issues we have within the organization to improve efficiency and focus,” he told the CTO general meeting.
Kenneth Bryan and his newly appointed chairman of the CTO board of directors, Rosa Harris, the Cayman Islands Director of Tourism, were present on Wednesday when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) vice president for the Americas, Peter Cerdá, said travel and tourism in the sector need “more than just good sounding words and declarations.
“We need action,” Cerdá told the Caribbean Aviation Day conference as he presented a case for marketing the region as a single destination.
“Selling and marketing the Caribbean as a multi-destination is becoming increasingly important as inflationary pressures will have an adverse effect on disposable incomes in some of the key source markets like Canada, Europe, and the USA.
“When holidaymakers will be deciding where they will spend their valuable vacation days and budgets, being able to offer a variety of experiences will be key. And when they fly, today’s travelers are also looking for a seamless/simplified experience.”
Cerdá said while physical infrastructure does not appear to be a limiting factor for connectivity in the region, “creating the right conditions to generate the demand that will support a sustainable increase in air connectivity in the region is still a challenge.”
He said outdated, redundant, and paper-based administrative and regulatory processes continue to negatively impact airline operations.
He noted the interdependences between aviation and tourism, saying that the industry contributed 13.9 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) and 15.2 percent of all jobs in the Caribbean pre-pandemic in 2019, with the WTTC saying that eight out of the ten most tourism-dependent countries globally in 2019 were in the Caribbean region.
He said one of the lessons learned from the past two years is that governments and the aviation value chain must find better ways to cooperate and communicate on a holistic level, with the aim of jointly ensuring the socio-economic well-being of this region.