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Is the Caribbean is pricing itself out of the tourism market?

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Is the Caribbean is pricing itself out of the tourism market through high travel, labour and energy costs? Delegates attending the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s inaugural State of the Industry conference in St. Martin next week will hear the answer from Prof. Avinash Persaud, a finance and public policy expert, in a hard hitting presentation entitled The Caribbean’s Reality Check.

In previewing his presentation, Prof Persaud promised to focus on the risks facing the Caribbean tourism sector, how the region compares with the competition and where the responsibilities lie.

“Caribbean tourism is at risk of going the way of the sugar industry. We let our competition invest more in service quality, environmental management and safety,” Prof. Persaud, Chairman of Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences in Barbados, will tell delegates, among whom are expected to include Caribbean Ministers, Commissioners and Directors of Tourism. the head of the World Travel and Tourism Council, David Scowsill and the British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, His Excellency Paul Brummel.

“But it is too easy to lay the responsibility at the door of Government. It is our owners who lack commercial hunger, ill-invest and wait for someone to buy them out. If running a hotel is less profitable than selling a condominium, that says more about the quality of our management and labour than it does about our airlift and taxes,” he is expected to say.

Prof. Persaud – well known for developing a number of concepts including investors’ shifting appetite for risk, liquidity black holes and the role of diversity in liquidity and systemic risk control – is among a powerful lineup of speakers who will present at the conference, which will be held at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa in St. Marteen.

The State of the Industry Conference – organized in collaboration with the St. Martin Tourist Office – brings together tourism interests from the public and private sectors to tackle a number of critical issues including overcoming the hurdles to intra-regional travel, how to use limited resources to the greatest advantage, how to influence the affluent travellers, and being truly competitive.

The general conference sessions will be preceded by a series of meetings on 14 & 15 September involving ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, as well as private sector tourism partners. The conference headquarters hotel is Le Domaine on French St. Martin.

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