The Caribbean Islands and the US will be strengthening tourism ties between the two countries. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation has called for a formal partnership between the region’s tourism sector and those responsible for implementing the United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act.

According to Breaking Travel News the act, was passed by congress in December last year, and it mandates a new long-term strategy to strengthen ties between Washington and the Caribbean region.

It is designed to increase the security, prosperity and well-being of the people of the United States and the Caribbean.

Addressing the importance of the act to Caribbean tourism at a recent meeting in Washington, Caribbean Tourism Organisation secretary general, Hugh Riley, referenced a tourism working group established by Caribbean Community heads of government at their meeting in Guyana in February, to guide the development and marketing of Caribbean tourism.

“What an accomplishment it would be for all of us and for the architects of act if we could report back to our region’s prime ministers and presidents when we meet with them in February, that there is now a working partnership between the region’s tourism working group and the US Caribbean Strategic Alliance.

“Our recommendation is that together, we waste no time in making that partnership a reality.Without doubt, shoring up the Caribbean’s main economic driver is the surest way to protect the third border of the United States,” Riley said.

The Caribbean region is often considered as one of the borders of the US, due to the commonalities among the two destinations.  It offers benefits to US citizens travelling there.

In 2016, the partnership saw impressive numbers with the US managing to generate from the deal $4.6 billion in trade surplus and 14 million US tourists. There were also 11 042 Caribbean students studying in the US. 

Riley also advocated for a balanced approach to the development of strategies and policies meant to grow tourism while protecting the resource base on which tourism depends.

He said  a sector-specific tourism approach would provide the greatest effectiveness and long-term sustainability which would be carried out with partnerships between the CTO and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.