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Josepf F. Forstmayr, President of CHTA, Opens the CHTA Caribbean Tourism Summit
Reinforcing the Need for Crucial Air Access and Affordability for the Region

Montego Bay, Jamaica (June 18, 2012) - "Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you a very warm welcome to the Caribbean Tourism Summit and Outlook Seminar."

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Jamaica Tourist Board are proud to present this inaugural Caribbean Tourism Summit.

I would like to personally thank the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism & Entertainment for inviting us to combine our new Caribbean Tourism Summit with their Annual Outlook Seminar. This has allowed us to come here to Jamaica with a solid foundation for the conference already in place.

The primary objective of this Caribbean Tourism Summit is to not only identify but also find solutions to the many aviation and bureaucratic barriers that continue to obstruct Caribbean's tourism progress.

And speaking of identifying aviation problems, I thank all of you who took out a mortgage to pay for the airfare to be with us here today.

It is not just the excessive Intra-Caribbean airfares but also the total lack of a comprehensive, user-friendly transportation network that has stifled visitors from our own region. No wonder our brothers and sisters cannot visit their families in neighboring islands, or their school sports and academic teams compete across the region, or the church groups and social clubs enjoy their Caribbean neighbors' hospitality.

The lack of an affordable and effective regional transportation network is not only having a significant negative effect on our tourism but also on the West Indian culture and way of life.

Intra-Caribbean travel fell by two-thirds between 2006 and 2010 - that means that the region lost over 1 million Caribbean visitors - intra-Caribbean travel was once our third largest source market. That loss of visitors equates to losing over one-third of all Canadian tourists or over one-fifth of all European tourists. Let us wake up and do something about this over the next two days!

Newly published research conducted by Oxford Economics for the WTTC once again demonstrates the substantial economic contribution that travel and tourism contributes to the world's economies and the damaging effect that over-taxation and regulation levies on our industry. In a short while from now, David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC will present that research.

This is, in-fact, the last time I will be preaching from the CHTA President's Pulpit, and as most of you know by now, I never address an audience without mentioning CHTA's advocacy program - 'Tourism Is Key'. This innovative and successful program started two years ago and continues to spread across the region educating both the man-in-the-street and our elected politicians about the vital importance of tourism to our economies.

The four pillars of the 'Tourism is Key' campaign are:
  1. Advocacy with governments and citizens.
  2. Linkages of tourism into local industry, agriculture and services.
  3. Regional integration (improved airlift, less bureaucracy for regional travel).
  4. Regional marketing.
All of these Tourism Is Key initiatives dovetail nicely with the Summit's program.

In all, there are five plenary sessions before the conference closes tomorrow and I do hope that you both enjoy and learn from the exceptional speakers and presenters that have assembled here to tackle the most critical issues facing Caribbean tourism.

I would also like to point out some other more 'social' highlights that will take place:
  • At lunch today, we officially inaugurate CHTA's new President, for the next two years, Richard Doumeng.
  • It is also our annual Awards Lunch where we will recognize the Caribbean Allied Member of the Year, the National Hotel Association Executive of the Year, Caribbean Tourism Supervisor of the Year, and Caribbean Tourism Employee of the Year.
And there's more:
  • Both during and after the lunch, we will be launching and signing CHTA's 50th anniversary commemorative book: 'The Caribbean: From Pirates to Hoteliers'. I encourage you all to take home a copy of this excellent coffee-table presentation of 50 years of Caribbean tourism, published by the Miami Herald's Custom Publishing Group.
  • Tonight is 'Jamaica Night' sponsored by Jamaica - and I don't think that needs any further explanation; a Jamaican party says it all.
  • The final event - or grand finale I should say - tomorrow evening, celebrates CHTA's Golden Jubilee with a champagne reception followed by a Gala Banquet providing the best of Caribbean cuisine and hospitality. I do hope you can all join us for this landmark celebration.
It would be remiss if I did not thank our sponsors: In addition to CHTA, CTO and Jamaica, the Caribbean Tourism Summit and related celebrations is sponsored by:

The Jamaica Hotel & Tourism Association, CSHAE, CGM Gallagher Group, Exposure4, Henkell & Co., HFTP - Hospitality Finance & Technology Professionals, Interval International, KPMG, MasterCard and The New York Times.

The Golden Jubilee Gala event is sponsored by, Henkell and Co., Jamaica and Virgin Holidays.

I look forward to learning, working and celebrating with you over the next two days.

One Love."

Josepf F. Forstmayr
President, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association

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.  Celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2012, CHTA 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 marshaling 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 375 allied members.

For more information, visit
Follow CHTA on Facebook and Twitter .

Julie Harper
MP&A digital & advertising

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Also See: Richard Doumeng, Managing Director of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort and Incoming President of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) Plans to Reinvigorate and Reinvent the Association / June 2012

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) to Hold Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2013 at Atlantis, Paradise Island, The Bahamas, January 20-22, 2013 / May 2012

Mexico's Visa Policy Generates 500,000 New Arrivals in Two Years - Can The Caribbean Do The Same?; Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association to Discuss Negative Effects of Over-Regulation of the Travel Industry at Upcoming Summit / May 2012

Agenda Set for the Caribbean Tourism Summit June 15-16 in Jamaica; To Focus on Crucial Air Access for Region, Culminates with CHTA 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee Gala / May 2012

Caribbean Tourism Officials Welcome Recent World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Research Confirming the Damaging Effect of Air Passenger Duty to the Tourism Industry Hoping the UK Treasury will Consider Reform Regarding Duty on UK-Caribbean Travel / March 2012

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) in Conjunction with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Jamaica to Host Caribbean Tourism Summit June 15-16, 2012 in Jamaica / March 2012

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Recap Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference: Robert Crandall, Former CEO of American Airlines, Provides Frank and Honest Assessment of the Issues Facing Caribbean Tourism; CSHAE Elects 2010-2011 Leadership / May 2010

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation Providing Scholarships for Students Seeking Career in Hospitality / December 2009

The Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association Names David Callaghan the Allied Member of the Year; Recognized for Ongoing Support of the Caribbean Hospitality Industry / January 2009

Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives Agree on Six Point Plan for National Associations; Susan Springer, Executive Director of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association Re-elected President / May 2008

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