Hot tourism talk slated for Caribbean Week at Caribbean Tourism Organization conference

What role does tourism play in improving the quality of lives of Caribbean people? Do the tourist dollars reach the man and woman in the street, or are they quickly remitted offshore? ? Is there a level playing field for Caribbean-Americans to invest in tourism? Do tourist authorities reach out in a meaningful way to their citizens, at home and abroad, to help promote their destinations?

These are only a few of the questions Caribbean-Americans were eager to fire at their respective tourism representatives when an exciting round of Caribbean town hall meetings got under way yesterday in New York City. They are part of a full week of activities to mark Caribbean Week in New York, staged by the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Caribbean nationals are expected in their hundreds at the two meeting locations, in Brooklyn and the Bronx, to receive updates from several Ministers of Tourism, and ask them burning questions about how they can help the Caribbean’s lifeline industry.

Participants gathered at Brooklyn College Student Center to chat with Ministers Rene Baptiste of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Manzoor Nadir of Guyana; and Brenda Hood of Grenada.

In the Bronx, they met with Jamaica’s Minister Aloun N’Dombet Assamba; and former manager of the West Indies cricket team, Richard “Ricky” Skerritt, now the tourism minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“We expect the discussion to be both exciting and constructive,” said Hugh Riley, CTO’s director of marketing for the Americas, who promised that popular Caribbean-American personalities will once again moderate the discourse to be sponsored by Air Jamaica and the Diaspora-based Caribbean World News Network.

Riley encouraged the Caribbean-American community to come out and meet the ministers whether or not their country is represented, making a special call to young adults keen on entering the tourism profession or learning about their ancestry to attend.

At Sunday’s Inter-Faith celebration at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, former New York City Councilmember Una Clarke, now attached to the office of New York Governor George Pataki, called on Caribbean nations to recognize the invaluable financial contribution Caribbean-Americans make when they visit the region.

For further information about Caribbean Week in New York, visit

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