UK Pledges Support for Regional Tourism Investment Fund


The British Government has given an undertaking to provide direct financial support to the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) for the development of a prospectus for a Regional Tourism Investment Fund.
President of the CHA, Simon Suarez, made the announcement on Monday(May 10) while addressing the 8th annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay.
Mr. Suarez said that his organisation had been aggressively pursuing the idea to set in motion the establishment of a Tourism Investment Fund, to tap into the necessary resources for the development of the industry in the region.
The CHA President said that the fund should be established for a number of reasons including the harvesting of the capital resources of the region; to lower the cost of funds for development projects; and to act as a conduit for extra-regional resources.
He said that the CHA had invited its European partners to join in analysing the feasibility of the venture, and had participated in high-level meetings between the British Government and Caribbean leaders.
“Yesterday, both Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Jack Straw, the British Foreign Minister, for the first time recognised the importance of tourism to the Caribbean region. On Wednesday, I am pleased to advise that the British Foreign Secretary, Mr Straw, will announce the British Government’s direct financial support to the Caribbean Hotel Association for the development of a prospectus for the Regional Tourism Investment Fund.
This is a significant step in making such a fund a reality, and we look forward to working with potential partners in the investment community, in taking this important initiative forward,” he said.Mr. Suarez said the move represented the first step in getting adequate capital mobilised in the Caribbean for financing. He emphasised that the goal would be for the investment fund to target in particular, but not exclusively, indigenous small and independent hotels, as well as the development of financing resources.

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