To present key global and Caribbean tourism trends with a focus on increasing competitiveness
and linkages for inclusive growth
Tourism is everybody’s business. Tourism demand generates demand for services all across an
economy. As tourism grows, so does demand for everything from local food and beverages, fuel,
cleaning supplies and services, printing supplies, and local transportation.
Regional Integration, especially on marketing and air transport, is essential for increased tourism
competitiveness in the Caribbean. For most of the Caribbean countries, regional integration is key
to success in tourism development and marketing. While more people are traveling globally,
competition is increasing, especially among island destinations. The Maldives, Mauritius and
Seychelles have all been growing rapidly, in part thanks to more regional cooperation, and are
becoming destinations of choice for Caribbean target markets such as the UK.
Tourism planning and development must be done in close cooperation with local communities.
Ultimately, tourism development is essentially local, thus affecting the communities in and around
the destinations. Tourism product offers are more attractive, appealing and sustainable when
closely developed in cooperation with local communities. The Four Seasons in Barbados, for
example, is emphasizing from the beginning local sourcing of employment, supplies and services.
Key take-aways from participants’ interaction
Tourism depends on local communities and culture. Chris Blackwell, for example, emphasized
that much of the success with his hotels is due to the hospitality of the Jamaican people. George
Vincent, Minister of Tourism for Grenada, emphasized the importance of involving visitors in local
offers such as agro-tourism.
Tourism depends on the environment and preserving environmental quality. One participant
noted that the yachting market, which of course depends almost entirely on high environmental
quality, is a highly lucrative sector that should take more priority for tourism markets in the
Caribbean. By focusing more on this sector, the tourism profile and contributions to each
country’s economy can be increased substantially.
Tourism is “the” main path of economic development for the Caribbean. Globally, tourism is
among the world’s top five industries, but in the Caribbean, it dominates the economy with almost
14% of GDP coming directly and indirectly from tourism. The Caribbean ranks 1st in the world with
the highest total contribution of tourism to GDP. The Caribbean also ranks first on visitor exports,
according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.