Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis chaired the First Meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Tourism to discuss the development of a Joint Tourism Policy for CARICOM. The Policy will be aimed at addressing the urgent need to stimulate the recovery of the tourism industry over the coming months, while building on efforts already established to address the industry’s longer-term growth, inclusiveness and sustainability, said the Prime Minister.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fiscal revenues from the tourism industry have declined precipitously and the direct and indirect employment related to industry are down, said Prime Minister Minnis.
“The linkages which we painstakingly forged between the tourism industry and other sectors and industries of our economies have been severely disrupted,” he told regional prime ministers and delegate heads at the virtual meeting on Thursday 18 February.
“While we previously acknowledge that our diversity requires nationally-nuanced policies and strategies, we have reached a point where these approaches may be liabilities to our respective tourism industries.”
Prime Minister Minnis said the need for a joint tourism policy is urgent. “The Joint Tourism Policy and its accompanying strategy for CARICOM are two critical tools that have to be added to our response arsenal to the path of survival, recovery and sustainable development,” said the Prime Minister.
The policy’s vision, “CARICOM Tourism that is sustainable, viable, of high quality, climate smart, resilient and promotes empowerment and inclusiveness,” is what the region needs at this time to take it forward, said Prime Minister Minnis. Strengthening the collaboration mechanism with the private sector, including labour, will be critical to the success of the initiative, noted the Prime Minister. Reaching an understanding on the financing mechanism for marketing and funding the development of the tourism sector will also be important, he said.
The Draft Framework for the Development of a Joint Tourism Policy for CARICOM is expected to be submitted to the Thirty-Second Inter-Sessional Meeting of Heads of Government scheduled for the 23-24 February.