September 22, 2020

Caribbean tourism sector advised to focus attention on needs of modern traveller

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earlston_mcphee-1From Caribbean News Now

ORANJESTAD, St Eustatius — Regional tourism planners and policymakers have been advised to stop catering to the visitor of yesterday and focus on the needs of the modern traveller in order to survive growing competition from both emerging and traditional Caribbean markets.

Bahamian sustainable tourism development expert, Earlston McPhee, said the traditional sun, sea and sand product is no longer adequate and tourism developers must incorporate the Caribbean’s culture and history in their offerings.

McPhee, the director of sustainable tourism in The Bahamas, told delegates attending the opening of the third annual Statia Sustainable Conference that the opportunities are present and all that is needed is the will to act.

“For the most part, we in the region continue to ignore consumer trends and demand for vacations that offer experience. The new consumers through surveys are saying that they want to experience our food, our music, our heritage; they want to get to know who we are as a people. Yet we continue to cater to the visitor of yesterday and offer products solely based on sand, sun and sea,” he told the audience, which included the island governor Gerald Berkel and the commissioner of tourism, Carlyle Tearr, in his keynote address.

“We ignore the offerings of our rich history and culture, great tasting dishes, the pulsating sound of our junkanoo, our steel pan. These are the rear assets that differentiate us from other competing destinations and allow our visitor to return to their home with a sense of place of our islands,” he said.

McPhee advised that in order to successfully face the competition, the Caribbean must develop effective leadership, develop linkages with other sectors in order to stem leakages, differentiate the product based on the characteristics of the destinations and the rich history, culture and heritage; promote and provide incentives and a conducive environment to attract international and domestic investors and move away from using increasing arrivals as a yardstick to measure success.

In addition, he said, the region must develop and embrace its human resource and the environment.

“It is my belief that the two most important assets the Caribbean has that are crucial to its economic and social development are its human resources and its environment. It makes good business sense to invest in these two assets as a strategy to position itself as a major destination of choice in the medium and long term.”

Approximately 100 local, regional and international delegates are participating is the conference, which has as its theme, Tourism and Development in the Community. It is organized by the island’s tourist board, the St Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation, with support from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

IMAGE: Earlston McPhee.jpg

Bahamian sustainable tourism expert Earlston McPhee tells delegates attending Statia Sustainable Conference it’s time to stop catering to yesterday’s visitor

For more on this story: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-Caribbean-tourism-sector-advised-to-focus-attention-on-needs-of-modern-traveller-22947.html

 

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