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Tourism issues to take spotlight at summit

Published:Friday | June 8, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer


AIRLIFT INTO Jamaica, visa facilitation and the emerging markets are among the crucial issues that will take centre stage at the combined Caribbean Tourism Summit and Outlook Seminar in Montego Bay next weekend.

The summit will also focus on issues facing regional tourism and will examine the link between the region's aviation policy and its competitiveness.

Scheduled to take place during the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA), the event has attracted several top players in the global tourism industry, including the World Travel and Tourism Council and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Organised by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the CHTA, the seminar is being held from June 15-16, at the Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Rose Hall.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill said: "This summit is very timely and presents an excellent opportunity to have dialogue with global tourism partners on how we can further develop and grow tourism in the Caribbean."

He added that it will provide a good platform to examine the challenges facing the sector and the solutions that will enable players in the industry to overcome them.

For the JTB's part, the organisation has formed an association with noted University of the West Indies lecturer and researcher, Professor Ian Boxill, who will spearhead the publication of a report on the discussions and outcome of the seminar.

McNeill underscored the point that the topics to be discussed are particularly apt as they are among the issues currently being addressed by his ministry. "We have been working assiduously to ensure there is adequate airlift into Jamaica and to improve the travel experience of our visitors through visa facilitation."

Usually held as separate events, the Caribbean Tourism Summit and the Tourism Outlook Seminar have been merged as Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence in 2012, which coincides with the CHTA's golden anniversary.