President of the Caribbean Hotels and Tourist Association, Richard Doumeng, wants governments to put up more money to help fight regions that have cashed in on the warm weather destination model that, for years, was a pillar of the Caribbean brand.
He said the Caribbean region needs to be more proactive on that front rather than taking steps only when a crisis occurs as was the case in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
“If we do a better job of focusing on our commonality rather than our differences, everyone is going to benefit in the long run,” Mr. Doumeng said.
“I think we got lazy and we took it for granted and we have to now take it back, take a slice of the warm weather destination market because we were the originals.”
The CHTA chairman made the comments on Thursday following a presentation he made at the annual general meeting of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association where he was the guest speaker.
The Caribbean Tourism Organisation in partnership with the CHTA has established the Caribbean Tourism Development Company funded through a Regional Marketing Fund (RMF) to assist with marketing and promotion, whose most recent promotional tool is the websitewww.caribbeantravel.com.
That website came on stream in February and has been likened to the Internet-based travel company Expedia.
Funding is now being sought for phase two of the project, Mr. Doumeng explained, while adding that the response has been slow due, in part, to long-held cynicism about the CHTA.
“It’s amazing but we only have 400-500 hotels on it and we should have 1500 but we realised that we had to launch it so people would at least see a tangible result of our efforts. We’re starting by soliciting governments to believe in CTO and CHTA and then we’re going to approach our airline and hotel chain partners for partnerships and get stakeholders involved financially,” he said.