Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe on Friday called for Caribbean nations to get more involved in the tourism trade, and said it is time for Caribbean nations to look at the region as one because working together they could achieve more.
Wilchcombe was addressing delegates and participants attending the fourth Inter-American Development Bank Caribbean governors regional meeting in Grand Bahama.
He also called on the IDB to play a greater role in the promotion of tourism in the region.
A native of Grand Bahama, the tourism minister described for the delegates the island and the city of Freeport, noting that the city has been built on both industry and tourism, and that Grand Bahama tourism is going through positive transformation with increased airlift and cruise passengers.
He told the gathering that, nationwide, tourism has for some 50 years been the main engine driver of the Bahamian economy, with 60 percent of employment opportunities directly related to it. The World Travel and Tourism Organization states, he said, that tourism is the number one industry in the world and some 1.3 billion people travel each year.
Further, he said, if the Caribbean nations would come together as a region, they could do much more in terms of attracting visitors to the various destinations.
The minister also observed that more can be done in the region to supply food and other items for visitors.
He said he would like to see the Caribbean Tourism Organization have greater representation, and a place on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) meetings agenda; and for the IDB to do more to emphasize the importance of tourism to people and countries in the region.
Source: Caribbean News Now