Congress adopts Declaration of Georgetown

By Rene Seon

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 23, CMC – The 24th Inter-American Ministerial Congress on Tourism has ended here with the adoption of the “Declaration of Georgetown” that forms the basis for the development of partnerships for the growth of the tourism industry in the Americas.

Guyana’s Minister of Business with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin, who chaired the conference, noted that a lot of the topics discussed were “very relevant to Guyana.

Minister of Business with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin.

“We have a lot to learn. We are fairly young as a tourism destination. To have all these expertise from different countries in the same room is very good exposure for us,” he said, adding “it was very valuable for us and it gave us a sense of where we are and where we need to go with tourism in Guyana.”

Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the Organisation of American States, Kim Osborne, said “what we had was strong indications of support, collaboration and co-operation between and among countries, to share dialogue and experiences, to share lessons learnt and good practices; to the extent that member states have offered co-operation to each other. We are grateful for the outcome of the meeting.

“Guyana did an amazing job at hosting and showing the product it has to offer. I think it hosting this ministerial congress really positions it as an emerging destination in the Americas with the flora and fauna, and amazing natural products. It is something people were not really aware of, and it was an opportunity to tell the rest of the Americas what Guyana has to offer.”

Earlier, a senior Caribbean tourism official said building resilience in the Caribbean tourism sector is a much broader subject than just focusing on structural resilience, as economic resilience is equally vital for the survival of the sector.

Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Hugh Riley, told the Congress on Thursday, that the issue of building resilience is important and timely, since the Caribbean “is the most dependent tourism region on the planet.

“No one wants to minimize the importance of rebuilding better and stronger, but economic resilience goes much further than just building codes,” Riley said, adding “every dollar spent on effective risk management and risk reduction is equal to three to five dollars in savings.”

He said it is money that the “CTO don’t have to spend on rebuilding of we do the right thing upfront.”

Riley said if the Caribbean and the Americas are serious about being economic resilient, advocacy must be a mandate and that a sustainable marketing fund should be created, because marketing the Caribbean brand collectively and effectively is critical.

He said that if the countries pooled their resources together they will be a “powerful force to recon with out there in this competitive business” noting that brand leadership is a fundamental factor in building a resilient Caribbean tourism sector.

Riley said a case for building the Caribbean brand is, losing global market share and growth rate is slowing down and that other countries have seen the importance of tourism and has now joined the business.

“The pie has increased but not our share,” he said, making mention of the two category 5 hurricanes that hit some of the Caribbean islands last year causing death, and widespread damage to infrastructure.

He said even though all the islands in the Caribbean were not affected directly by the storms, there was collateral damage because of the misunderstanding of the geography of the Caribbean to onlookers, who thought the entire region was destroyed.

“If we have to tell our own story though, we have to have a pool of resources available to do so effectively. If a disaster strikes our countries are going to be focused correctly on rebuilding their infrastructure… they should not have to be worrying about the next dollar to market the region.”

Riley said that the message has to be right and ready.

“A fund has to be available to turn that faucet on because a disaster is going to occur at some point, and if we think that what happen in September last year was a one-time thing then we are hallucinating. It can happen at any time to anyone one of us. So we have to have be prepared for it and have that sustainable fund available to call on it when we need it.”

The next Congress will be held in Paraguay in 2021.

 

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By Rene Seon

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 23, CMC – The 24th Inter-American Ministerial Congress on Tourism has ended here with the adoption of the “Declaration of Georgetown” that forms the basis for the development of partnerships for the growth of the tourism industry in the Americas.

Guyana’s Minister of Business with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin, who chaired the conference, noted that a lot of the topics discussed were “very relevant to Guyana.

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Minister of Business with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin.

“We have a lot to learn. We are fairly young as a tourism destination. To have all these expertise from different countries in the same room is very good exposure for us,” he said, adding “it was very valuable for us and it gave us a sense of where we are and where we need to go with tourism in Guyana.”

Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the Organisation of American States, Kim Osborne, said “what we had was strong indications of support, collaboration and co-operation between and among countries, to share dialogue and experiences, to share lessons learnt and good practices; to the extent that member states have offered co-operation to each other. We are grateful for the outcome of the meeting.

“Guyana did an amazing job at hosting and showing the product it has to offer. I think it hosting this ministerial congress really positions it as an emerging destination in the Americas with the flora and fauna, and amazing natural products. It is something people were not really aware of, and it was an opportunity to tell the rest of the Americas what Guyana has to offer.”

Earlier, a senior Caribbean tourism official said building resilience in the Caribbean tourism sector is a much broader subject than just focusing on structural resilience, as economic resilience is equally vital for the survival of the sector.

Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Hugh Riley, told the Congress on Thursday, that the issue of building resilience is important and timely, since the Caribbean “is the most dependent tourism region on the planet.

“No one wants to minimize the importance of rebuilding better and stronger, but economic resilience goes much further than just building codes,” Riley said, adding “every dollar spent on effective risk management and risk reduction is equal to three to five dollars in savings.”

He said it is money that the “CTO don’t have to spend on rebuilding of we do the right thing upfront.”

Riley said if the Caribbean and the Americas are serious about being economic resilient, advocacy must be a mandate and that a sustainable marketing fund should be created, because marketing the Caribbean brand collectively and effectively is critical.

He said that if the countries pooled their resources together they will be a “powerful force to recon with out there in this competitive business” noting that brand leadership is a fundamental factor in building a resilient Caribbean tourism sector.

Riley said a case for building the Caribbean brand is, losing global market share and growth rate is slowing down and that other countries have seen the importance of tourism and has now joined the business.

“The pie has increased but not our share,” he said, making mention of the two category 5 hurricanes that hit some of the Caribbean islands last year causing death, and widespread damage to infrastructure.

He said even though all the islands in the Caribbean were not affected directly by the storms, there was collateral damage because of the misunderstanding of the geography of the Caribbean to onlookers, who thought the entire region was destroyed.

“If we have to tell our own story though, we have to have a pool of resources available to do so effectively. If a disaster strikes our countries are going to be focused correctly on rebuilding their infrastructure… they should not have to be worrying about the next dollar to market the region.”

Riley said that the message has to be right and ready.

“A fund has to be available to turn that faucet on because a disaster is going to occur at some point, and if we think that what happen in September last year was a one-time thing then we are hallucinating. It can happen at any time to anyone one of us. So we have to have be prepared for it and have that sustainable fund available to call on it when we need it.”

The next Congress will be held in Paraguay in 2021.