Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, has issued a challenge to regional tourism technocrats to craft a compelling series of itineraries that would make the Southern cruise experience worthwhile for cruisers.

He made this call today while delivering the opening remarks at the two-day Cruise Alliance of the Southern Caribbean Consultation at Hilton Barbados.

Mr. Sealy noted that an increased number of destinations had recognised the importance of tourism as a viable pathway to the sustainable growth of their economies. In this regard, the Minister added: ???We need to be aware of the fierce urgency of now and not be found wanting when our routes are seen as no longer profitable to cruise lines and the agents who promote them.???

He further stated: ???Every effort has to be made to bring together in this Consultation, some of the best minds in the industry to share their views and experiences [that would] enable us to craft a strategic marketing of the Southern Caribbean region as a new destination for cruisers. Our aim is to build a stronger, more competitive identity for participating destinations through a clearly articulated sense of common purpose, harmonised promotion and distinctive marketing strategies.???

The Tourism Minister expressed confidence in the tourism industry, pointing out that the Caribbean was still the most popular place for cruisers and was poised to capture 37 per cent of the global cruise tourism market next year.

Mr. Sealy said a number of large vessels would be sailing to the region next year including the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line???s Quantum Class which will dock in Barbados as part of its itinerary.

???So, there is no reason for us to be pessimistic even though there are more people involved in the industry???the Caribbean is still No.1. What we are saying is that if we are to remain there, we have to hone, recreate and rebrand where necessary. Therefore, this is what the Southern Caribbean Cruise Consultation is all about,??? he underlined.

The Consultation continues tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22, and among the activities slated for the final day, is a press conference at noon.

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