NASSAU, Bahamas Oct 3 CMC—Former United States President Bill Clinton Wednesday urged Caribbean countries to continue to expand efforts to rejuvenate the regional tourist industry and guide the Caribbean towards a stronger and more sustainable future.
He made the appeal in a telecast to delegates attending the opening session of the 2018 State of the Industry Conference in the Bahamas.
“I don’t have to tell you the critical role travel and tourism plays in the Caribbean the sector accounts for more than 15% of GDP in the region and in many countries the number is much higher.
“It is estimated that the 2017 hurricane season resulted in the loss of more than 800,000 visitors to the region which could have generated more than 740 million dollars and supported thousands of jobs,” Clinton said in his telecast.
He said rejuvenation of the industry and bringing people back to the islands was absolutely essential to the on going efforts to build back better.
“We have seen already how hotels for example can act as models for businesses and other sectors by emphasing sustain ability, developing the local work force, forming partnerships with local farmers and small business.”
He said the CTO is working with his foundation and other partners to showcase the extraordinary culture biodiversity, arts food and history of the region. “I want you to continue and expand this crucial work. “
Clinton said that watching the recovery efforts over the last few years, he was struck by the resilience and sense of community among people of the Caribbean.
“We have made a lot of progress but there is so much more to be done. And with the apparent hurricane season already underway we know the work is more urgent that ever,” he noted.
President Clinton noted that as time goes by “we can’t forget our commitment to revitalizing the tourism industry and in so doing to guide the region towards a stronger safer and more sustainable future. Please use this meeting as an opportunity to continue this very important work,” he advised.
Tourism Ministers, their officials and other stake holders in the hospitality sector are meeting here for the next three days to chart new directions for Caribbean Tourism based on the theme rejuvenate, recreate and and Reconnect.