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  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Caribbean as a region needs to rethink its tourism marketing strategy and would be better served bonding together as opposed to individual islands going it alone.
  • Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica has already started the ball rolling by signing a destination agreement with Cuba, and is on the verge of doing the same with Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
  • He argued that it is very challenging for the islands to compete individually with other powerful regions, and a collaborative approach could see a significant increase in tourist arrivals in the Caribbean.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the Caribbean as a region needs to rethink its tourism marketing strategy and would be better served bonding together as opposed to individual islands going it alone.

Addressing tourism stakeholders from across the region at the inaugural Island Routes Certified Partner Conference at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on September 14, Mr. Bartlett said the region has the potential to be the biggest tourist destination in the world.

“I have been talking about multi-destination marketing and I will not stop until we all can realise the enormous benefits that are at our fingertips. I daresay that if we should take this approach, the result would be an explosion like we have never seen before,” the Minister said.

Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica has already started the ball rolling by signing a destination agreement with Cuba, and is on the verge of doing the same with Mexico and the Dominican Republic. He also revealed that preliminary discussions are under way with Haiti and The Bahamas.

“We have to take a collaborative rather than a competitive approach,” the Minister emphasised.

He argued that it is very challenging for the islands to compete individually with other powerful regions, and a collaborative approach could see a significant increase in tourist arrivals in the Caribbean.

“Where else can you find the quality entertainment, the quality food, the quality beaches and the quality rivers. The day we recognise how potent a combination we have by putting our collective wits together is the day we take full control of this lucrative tourism market,” the Minister said.

Mr. Bartlett told the conference that destination management companies (DMCs), like Island Routes, have a pivotal role to play in the experience of the visitor, and lauded the company for putting together the conference.

“Destination assurance is what these DMCs like Island Routes have been selling. We all have to assist them in ensuring that what (attractions) we have advertised do coincide with the experience of the visitor. This is the dawn of a new era in tourism where guest satisfaction is far more important today than it has ever been,” the Minister said.

The three-day conference, which ends on September 16, is being attended by more than 50 representatives of the Caribbean’s leading attractions.