Bartlett urges CDB to allocate more funds for tourism
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has called on the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to increase loan funding for Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs).
In his address to the 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the CDB in the Turks and Caicos Islands last week, Minister Bartlett highlighted that the Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world.
He said tourism accounts for more than 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Caribbean countries where one in every five workers is employed in a tourism-related job.
He said increasing loan funding would allow SMTEs to expand their operations and grow earnings, which would in turn grow the economies of the Caribbean.
Importantly, he said increasing access to loan funding would also reduce leakage of the tourism dollar as SMTE's would not have to use earnings to carryout improvement works and pay for inputs.
He noted that the banking system in the Caribbean is yet to come to grips with the demand for tourism and the development of the kind of portfolio that will allow SMTE’s to have access to the requisite funds.