Reunions good idea for tourism boost

For a long time I have been promoting the idea that retreats and reunions can play a pivotal role in adding to our numbers during some of our off-peak periods.

This week I was elated to learn of the planned 50th Anniversary celebrations of The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.

This reunion has the potential to make a significant impact on our arrival numbers for the month of October. Participants are expected to arrive on the island from throughout the Caribbean and stay for a minimum of seven nights.

For me this is a significant event and deserves to be elevated to the highest level possible. Just reflect on the number of leaders through the Caribbean region whose thoughts and ideas have been shaped and nurtured by the Universities of the West Indies.

Let me look at this celebration from my point of view. While the world’s biggest countries continue to struggle with their economies and continue to disagree on the remedies to fix them, this is a fantastic opportunity for our region to come together and reflect on our growth and development over the last 50 years.

While war and violence continue to plague many countries worldwide, this is a fantastic opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to influencing the Caribbean at promoting peace and safety as a way of life, by demonstrating how we live together as a people.

As a region, our educational systems have played a significant role in the elevation of our people to world status. I believe that networking opportunities like these can be used to stimulate discussions of how to move the region forward to the next level.

For many years, I have held the view that the Caribbean is the World’s most tourism dependent region. At a time when we stop to celebrate 50 years of our university as our leading tertiary educational institution, I feel that regional tourism should be a hot topic for discussion among colleagues of all disciplines within the region.

In order to make the 50th anniversary celebration a success there is a lot of work that would need to be done and in a very professional manner. Getting the delegates in and out of Barbados will be a very critical element of the success of this reunion.

Of course, moving from our traditional last-minute way of making confirmation will be necessary in order to help the air travel providers to plan their equipment and frequency.

Our service delivery at every level should be the very best we have to offer. Far too often, I have heard the comment from regional and locals guests that feel as if they get a different type of service from visitors from our international source markets. This should never be the case, and certainly must not obtain during this reunion.

* Tourism is our business, let us play our part.

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