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Caribbean and European Leaders Agree on Key Tourism Issues at Inaugural Tourism Summit

Caribbean tourism leaders and European Union officials have agreed on a number of key conclusions during the first ever Caribbean Tourism Summit, where key subjects were discussed to help further development of the Caribbean holidays industry.

Caribbean and European Leaders Agree on Key Tourism Issues at Inaugural Tourism Summit

Tourism leaders from the Caribbean and officials from the European Union met at the first ever Caribbean Tourism Summit held in Europe recently to discuss the key subjects concerning the tourism sector.

The leaders agreed on six key conclusions which indicated that they had greater understanding than initially thought regarding the Caribbean holidays industry and tourism sector.

These issues which were discussed included discovering ways to bridge the gap between policy intentions and practice; sources of funding for tourism development; tourism, aviation and taxation, education and social development; tourism and climate change; and how the tourism sector can benefit from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Caribbean and Europe.

Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard “Rickey” Skerrit said that “tourism is a significant sector for both the EU and the Caribbean and both regions have much to do to advance the policy discussion to ensure that tourism is given the attention and support that it deserves.”

When it came to discussing the issues regarding aviation taxation and Emission Trading Schemes (ETS), Skerrit said that they posed a real threat to the Caribbean holidays industry.

“Tourism is a major driver of economic and social development in the Caribbean and any negative impact on tourism will have far reaching consequences across the range of services that might be wholly unrelated to the sector but that rely in part on government funding through income from tourism,” he said.

Last week, the British Government announced during the Budget statement that Air Passenger Duty (APD) would be frozen for 12 months. However, this tax has already been hiked up twice this year and it as had a significant impact on the number of travellers booking their holidays to the Caribbean.

The CTO Chairman added that the Caribbean will suffer from the effects of climate change despite not contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, he believes that the Caribbean can be a world leader in conservation and a promoter of climate change by implementing initiatives within Caribbean hotels and the way people travel to their holidays in the Caribbean.

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