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CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference opens in Turks and Caicos

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The Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Executive Committee met in Providenciales on Monday. From left are Marie McKenzie (Carnival); CTO Allied Chairman William Griffith; Nicola Madden-Greig (CHTA); Latia Duncombe (Bahamas); CTO Chairman Rosa Harris (Cayman Islands); Trevor Sadler (InterCaribbean Airways); CTO Secretary-General Dona Regis-Prosper; Lorine St. Jules (St. Lucia); CTO Director of Finance Neil Walters; and Racquel Brown (Turks and Caicos).

SOTIC 2023 concludes with a press conference and wrap-up immediately following the Youth Congress proceedings.

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS – After a hiatus of five years, the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) flagship event, the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) kicks off today at The Shore Club in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Bringing together government and private sector tourism leaders from its member nations under the theme “Invest. Innovate. Inspire – A New Model for Caribbean Tourism Growth”, SOTIC provides stakeholders a unique opportunity to collaboratively examine tourism investment and financing in the Caribbean.

Presiding over the conference for the first time, Dona Regis-Prosper, Secretary-General and CEO of the intergovernmental body, invited delegates to share their perspectives on how best to invigorate the Caribbean tourism industry and establish efficient frameworks for prosperous public-private partnerships during the two-day conference, which follows two days of destination briefings for members of the media and business meetings.

“Tourism Investment and Financing in the Caribbean” is the focus for the presentations and panels taking place on Wednesday, October 11, while delegates will explore “Drivers for Caribbean Tourism Growth” as an overarching topic on Thursday, October 12.

Welcoming travel- and tourism-focused journalists from the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as local media yesterday, Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands, presented a comprehensive overview of the archipelago’s tourism product, its culture and history, and plans for sustainable development of its lifeblood industry.

Following the Turks and Caicos presentation, invited media received destination briefings and updates from tourism representatives of other CTO member countries and territories in attendance, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Tobago.

Monday’s program also included a meeting of the CTO Executive Committee, while meetings of the CTO Board of Directors and the Council of Tourism Ministers and Commissioners took place on Tuesday.

Presentations and panel discussions at SOTIC will address topics such as Sustainable Financing for Caribbean Tourism; Perspectives on Investment Trends, Partnerships and Maximizing Tourism Growth; Strategies for Positioning Caribbean Tourism for New Investment Opportunities; Sustainability: The New Tool in the Destination Marketing Mix; Aviation Competitiveness in the Caribbean; Digital Transformation in Tourism – a Roadmap for the Caribbean; Engaging the filmed entertainment industry to advance Caribbean tourism: Opportunities and Challenges; and Stakeholders Speak Out on the Path Towards Tourism Growth in the context of the TCI Experience.

The conference agenda also includes a recorded video message from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and a keynote address, which will be delivered by Franz Rojas-Ortuste, Director of Water and Sanitation Analysis Division at CAF – Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean.

In addition to ministers and commissioners of tourism and other related ministries; directors and chief executives of tourism authorities, boards and destination marketing organizations; and members of the media, SOTIC facilitates the participation of regional and international representatives from investment entities, funding institutions, airlines, cruise lines, accommodations providers, property developers, and academia in meaningful discussions around major issues impacting the development of the region’s tourism sector.

The CTO’s popular Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress, which invites students between the ages of 14 and 17 from CTO member countries and territories to research various facets of the tourism sector and share their ideas and vision about future directions for Caribbean tourism, takes place on Friday, October 13, at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Following the student presentations, one youngster will be named Regional Junior Minister of Tourism for 2023-2024, which includes service as a youth ambassador for his or her destination and the region for one year.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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