Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Tourism's impact must be understood

The impact of the tourism industry on the Caribbean must be understood and researched to chart a sustainable path forward in this competitive global market.

This assertion came from the President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith, as he lauded Dr. Jean Holder for penning the text “Caribbean Tourism” which seeks to bring about “a better and more comprehensive understanding of this vital industry”.

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon.
Ralph Gonsalves (right), and President of the Caribbean Development
Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith, having a discussion.
Smith stated, “The industry has certainly assumed a dominant role in a number of Caribbean countries. Therefore, it is vitally important that we have a comprehensive understanding of the impact that tourism has on all aspects of our societies. Like all other products, which evolve and become the best, research and development are key.”

Delivering the welcome remarks at the book launch on Monday at the CDB, Smith said, “Caribbean Tourism is also about this region’s future and the role that tourism can play in that future.”

Furthermore, he said that the author, Jean, “has very cleverly used the opportunity to outline the unfinished work that we must take on as a region, in order to realise the full potential of an industry that has so much to offer”.

Having read the text first-hand, Smith highlighted two points offered by Holder in his proposed strategy within the text. He said, “First, he [Holder] argues that tourism and related services will remain the best prospect for the economic development of the Caribbean. A point he has made consistently in other publications. Secondly, Dr. Holder makes a strong and compelling case for tourism education to begin at the primary schools and for expanding the tourism research output at the tertiary level.”

To this, the President added, “Both points offer a crucial lesson for us.

“In an increasingly globalised world, we must also place high priority on safeguarding industry competitiveness by placing a unique stamp on a product that does not only rely simply on ‘sea, sand and sun’, but is a function of everything that has been brought to bear to make us who we are,” he insisted.

During the launch ceremony, copies of the book were presented to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, accepted by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Former Senior Caribbean Ambassador, Sir. Ronald Sanders; the Cave Hill Campus Main Library; and the CDB Information Services Centre.

Speaking to the Grenada Advocate, Prime Minister Gonsalves assured that the book will find its way into the schools.

He stated, “First of all in the secondary schools, we have to get the teachers to do summaries of this. [It is] very important for us to be studying this and of course, in the universities.” (KG)

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