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Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Mounts Advocacy Campaign

Seeks to Offset Insufficient Awareness and Understanding of the Tourism Industry’s
Economic Contribution and How it Permeates the General Economy and
Overall Fabric of Caribbean Society

 
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (July 5, 2010) – In his first act as President of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Josef Forstmayr has launched the Tourism Is Key advocacy campaign underlining the importance of travel and tourism to local Caribbean economies which are more tourism-dependent than any other region in the world. The advertising campaign was launched this week in Jamaica which is hosting the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting.

The CHTA campaign will target a broad audience from Caribbean Heads of State across the region to Caribbean citizens who often do not realize the indirect role tourism plays in their lives every day.

The first official advertisements for the Tourism Is Key campaign and appearing only in Jamaica to begin with – supported by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and CHTA – will appear in the Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer. The three full page Public Service Announcements, produced by CHTA, are carried by the newspapers as Public Service Announcements (PSAs) illustrating the following key points:

• The impact of tourism on the wider economy
• The impact of tourism on jobs
• The impact of tourism on investment
“In order to remain viable in the future, we need to ensure the sustainability of our tourism industry today,” said Josef Forstmayr, Managing Director of Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica and President of CHTA.

“Paramount to that is a much needed consensus among our leaders and the general public so that travel and tourism will receive the full support it deserves as the Caribbean’s most vital export,” he said, adding:

“Considerable time, effort and funds have been spent to study, review, research, report and make recommendations about various aspects of the Caribbean tourism industry’s policy agenda. Unfortunately, implementation has not been the strongest part of the process.

“We are currently taking steps to improve this through our Strategic Alliance with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in which we will have access and support of information that provides greater credibility to the economic importance of the tourism industry and as a major generator of jobs throughout the region.”

The 2004 WTTC Caribbean study, commissioned by the CHTA, says travel and tourism will make an extraordinary contribution to the Caribbean over the next 10 years, but the impact of the industry is generally not understood by public officials, the industry itself, or the communities where it takes place.

“Travel & Tourism is a major economic and social driver in the Caribbean,” said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President & CEO of WTTC. “It is essential that its value is recognized by governments and the public at large, and that governments help to unlock its full potential for the benefit of all stakeholders in the Caribbean.”

The WTTC urged “long-term planning at both the national and regional levels is a prerequisite for generating investor confidence and organizing the successful development of Travel and Tourism in the Caribbean.”

The study noted: “The Caribbean’s economic and marketing related Travel and Tourism research and forecasting are generally inadequate, both in terms of quality and quantity.”

The WTTC further stated: “Experience has shown that demand for any tourism destination grows sharply if marketing and promotions are well funded and effective.”

Forstmayr stated: “We in the Caribbean hotel industry recognize that the economic importance of travel and tourism to the Caribbean is indisputable.  However, there is still insufficient awareness and understanding of the industry’s economic contribution and how it permeates the depth and breadth of the general economy and overall fabric of Caribbean society.

“Previous efforts have resulted in mixed success, which is why we need to focus on influencing the average voter who may not realize how dependent his livelihood is on travel and tourism. These are the people to whom our leaders are ultimately responsible; therefore they are the targets of our campaign.”

The Tourism is Key ad campaign will highlight several important facts including:

• Travel & Tourism directly and indirectly employs more than1.9 million people in the Caribbean (1 in every 9 jobs).
• Travel & Tourism employs 284,000 people in Jamaica (almost 1 in every 4 jobs).
• Travel & Tourism accounts for 12.8% of the Caribbean’s economic activity (GDP) – more than in any other region in the world.
• Travel & Tourism accounts for 27.7% of Jamaica’s GDP – over US$3.7 billion.
Forstmayr said: “This benefit of tourist spending impacting into the wider economy is the relevance that needs to be conveyed to our own people in the islands so that everyone understands the importance of these tourists and the dollars they bring to the economy.

“We need to continue to remind our own people that ‘tourism business means jobs’ not only in the hotels, but for the taxis, the restaurants and the farmers and fishermen that fill the restaurants with food. It also means work for the seamstress, crafts people, shopkeepers and manufacturers, including all their workers plus the deliverymen as well as the trash collectors.

“We need to raise the level of consciousness with our own national and youth residents and ensure that they can participate in the ownership and economic benefits of the industry. We need to continue our efforts in order that our politicians the general population understands that the tourism industry feeds the economic chain and builds strength in the human resource development of our youth.”

For more information on the campaign and it’s message, visit www.tourismiskey.com or follow CHTA on Facebook or Twitter.

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) facilitates the full potential of the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry by serving members’ needs and building partnerships in a socially responsible and sustainable manner.  CHTA was founded in 1962; it is the voice of the Caribbean hospitality industry for the development of the region in the highly competitive and sophisticated environment of international tourism. Today, tourism is widely recognized as a pivotal industry in the economy of the region – and CHTA functions as the common denominator for this industry in a region of diverse nationalities, languages and styles, identifying mutual problems and marshalling the resources of the active and allied members to devise solutions. CHTA represents all facets of the hospitality industry with more than 725 member hotels and 525 allied members. For more information, visit http://www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.

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Contact: 

KTCpr
Telephone: 516-594-4100
Josh Kahn / J.Kahn@KTCpr.com
 

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Also See: Josef Forstmayr, Managing Director at Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Jamaica, Named President - elect for the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association / June 2009
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