Hoping to underscore the importance of travel and tourism to local Caribbean economies, which it argues are more tourism-dependent than in any other region of the world, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) has launched a new "Tourism Is Key" public relations campaign highlighting the economic benefits of travel, it announced last week.
Introduced in Jamaica at the 2010 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government meeting, the CHTA campaign will target everyone from Caribbean heads of state to Caribbean citizens with advertisements illustrating the power of tourism to stimulate economic growth, jobs and investment.
"In order to remain viable in the future, we need to ensure the sustainability of our tourism industry today," said CHTA President Josef Forstmayr, managing director of Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica. "Paramount to that is a much needed consensus among our leaders and the general public so that travel and tourism will receive the full support it deserves as the Caribbean's most vital export."
According to a 2004 study commissioned by CHTA, travel and tourism will make an "extraordinary contribution" to the Caribbean over the next 10 years, although the impact of the industry is generally not understood by public officials, the industry itself or the communities where it takes place.
To change that, CHTA's "Tourism Is Key" campaign will include a series of public service announcements appearing in Caribbean newspapers, highlighting the fact that travel and tourism directly and indirectly employs more than 1.9 million people in the Caribbean — representing one in every nine jobs — and accounts for 12.8 percent of the Caribbean's economic activity, which is more than in any other region in the world.
"We need to continue to remind our own people that 'tourism business means jobs,' not only in the hotels, but for the taxis, the restaurants, and the farmers and fishermen that fill the restaurants with food," Forstmayr said. "It also means work for the seamstress, craftspeople, shopkeepers and manufacturers, including all their workers, plus the deliverymen as well as the trash collectors."
For more information about CHTA's "Tourism Is Key" campaign, visit www.tourismiskey.com.