The tourism appeal of Caribbean holidays to be discussed at April OECS videoconference
During the OECS's last meeting on 31st March 2010, Ministers of Tourism from St Lucia and other senior officials from OECS agreed to hold the next videoconference next 20 April 2010 in St Lucia, where the appeal of Caribbean holidays will be discussed.
Ministers of Tourism from the region will be meeting soon in St Lucia this April to host a videoconference that will be mainly focused around the topic of the future of St Lucia holidays and the appeal of Caribbean holidays & its tourism product offering.
Senior officials in the tourism sector of the OECS convened on last Wednesday 31st March to hold a meeting by videoconference in April. Wednesday’s videoconference was coordinated by the OECS Secretariat, and was in preparation for the 9th Meeting of the OECS Council of Tourism Ministers scheduled to take place in St Lucia on 20th April, 2010.
Programme Officer for Tourism at the OECS Secretariat Dr Lorraine Nicholas expected a high level of participation at last Wednesday’s videoconference for senior officials in the OECS Tourism sector: “So far, the responses from Member States have been overwhelmingly favourable. All Member States indicating that they will be represented at the videoconference. In most cases we have two representatives confirmed for each OECS Member State.”
During the next April videoconference, tourism officials will discuss a number of issues relating to the deepening of functional cooperation in tourism among Member States. These include the possibilities for joint tourism product development; enhancing what Caribbean holidays offer, joint marketing; and an OECS Tourism Enhancement Fund to finance regional tourism development initiatives.
The notion of "operationalising" the Tourism Shared Space in the context of the pending Economic Union is another important area to be discussed by the senior tourism officials. In that regard, particular focus will be placed on the adoption of a collective approach to the clearance of yachts in the region and the multi-destination tourism concept.
About this latter issue, Dr Nicholas has on previous occasions stressed the need for: "Discussions focused on the consideration of further areas in which OECS destinations” – which in her opinion: “(…) could undertake joint marketing initiatives. However, in that regard the Ministers expressed very keen interest in the joint development of the tourism assets of the region,"
She also said that one of the organisation’s main goals for boosting Caribbean holidays in general was to "operationalise" the concept of presenting the OECS to the rest of the world as a single shared tourism space.
For this purpose, OECS Ministers of Tourism, as a priority, have also mandated the Secretariat to further explore the implications of a single shared space for Caribbean holidays. The Secretariat was also asked to propose enhanced measures to facilitate ease of travel by sea and air for both OECS nationals and visitors to the islands.
The videoconference will make recommendations on these matters for consideration by the Council of Ministers of Tourism at their ninth meeting which is taking place this coming 20th April 2010.
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