Confidence and joint marketing stressed at St. Martin Tourism conference opening

POSTED: 09/17/11 3:19 PM

MARIGOT – Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Richard Skerritt told Thursday night’s opening of the CTO’s State of the Industry Conference that confidence is the defining factor for success in the tourism industry. He’d go on to draw a parallel with his experience in sports management.

“All other things being equal, confidence is what separates the men from the boys. The lack of confidence by consumers and investors is what is slowing down the economic recovery,” Skerrit said.

The stated mission of the conference is bringing the Caribbean together. The theme for the event is winning in a competitive environment.

“We have a microcosm here of what the Caribbean represents,” Skerritt said.

“The modern traveler seeks to experience our islands beyond our hotels; therefore standards have to be raised everywhere. We have to deliver a world class product. We need a strong commitment to service and we have to give our young people the tools through education and training. But we must not sell ourselves short. The Caribbean is still the best tourism region in the world.”
St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications Franklin Meyers said that Caribbean people must come together to face the challenges its prime industry is facing.

“Marketing the individual islands and the Caribbean as a whole has always been a stumbling block. If we don’t get serious about marketing the Caribbean as a whole we’ll find ourselves from the outside looking in. We have to turn the talks from conferences like this one into action. We need to come together as brothers or we will perish.”
The opening ceremony took place in a large party tent on the parking lot of Marine Fort Louis. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, Vice Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger, COM President Frantz Gumbs, Senator Louis Constant Fleming and many other dignitaries and representatives from the hospitality sector from both sides of the island were among the 400 guests from the 33 CTO member countries.
Thursday’s ceremony opened with the singing of the Dutch-side national anthem. The first leg of the conference will take place at the Westin Hotel in Dawn Beach.


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