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Minister of Tourism Addresses UNWTO Conference in Haiti

Minister of Tourism Obediah Wilchcombe recently strongly urged tourism leaders from around the world to become more creative with tourism tactics.

He was one of the featured speakers at the recent United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Conference on “Multi Destinational Opportunities for Regional Integration” in Port au Prince, Haiti.

Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Tateb Rifai, invited the minister to speak.

Ministers of tourism from throughout the world, leaders in tourism including Donald Hawkins, Eisenhower Professor of Tourism Policy, George Washington University, prominent hoteliers, bankers, representatives of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Organization of American States were among the attendees.

Minister Wilchcombe, in a very well received presentation, shared with delegates an incisive analysis of the high volume of international seat capacity – 26.9 million seats per year to the Caribbean from the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, Central America and Africa.

Minister Wilchcombe noted that there are concrete steps that could be taken to build upon existing opportunities.

While sharing a detailed analysis of the 1.6 million per year seat network within the Caribbean region, the minister said this volume of seats provides a platform for individual Caribbean countries to negotiate bi-lateral airlift agreements to secure needed strategic airlift access.

“The economics of air travel have changed very radically in the past few years,” Minister Wilchcombe said.

“Airlines are now almost singularly focused on maximizing profitability. They have effectively harnessed the growth of seat capacity, even in the face of very high load factors, in order to sustain acceptable yield levels. Consequently, tourism destinations have experienced no traffic growth in cases where such growth would have occurred holistically due to higher seat capacity spurred by very good load factor performance.

“Today, the airlift paradigm has shifted. Yesterday’s scenario no longer applies. Tourism planners must, of necessity, become more creative. These impediments, fellow delegates, are real. And they are in front of us every day.”

Minister Wilchcombe also briefly highlighted the success of Grand Bahama in tapping into sea arrivals from the Celebration and Balearia to boost room night growth through “cruise and stay” packages.

“The Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a firm believer that the multi-destinational opportunities for regional integration are as huge as they are real,” Minister Wilchcombe said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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