Innovation is necessary for sustainability in the tourism industry


“Caribbean Tourism: Another Level of Innovation” was the theme for the sixteenth Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEX) on Sustainable Tourism, which concluded in St Lucia Sunday.

Since its inception in 2001, CMEX has made an amazing difference to the quality of journalism across the Caribbean and Latin America and in the coverage of the region in Europe and North America,” said St Lucia’s Tourism Minister Allen Chastenat, in his message to the more than 50 journalists from around the region and North America who attended the four-day event.

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Speaking at the closing session, Minister Chastenat said that the tourism innovation theme that was explored at the meeting is timely as it is through the capturing of creativity of all stakeholders that the region will be able to strengthen the resilience of tourism. “We need to honor our heritage, but we need innovation to move us beyond complacency to define success, not by relying on traditional indicators but by measuring our performance against our potential,” he said.

He said that too often in the region, mediocrity is settled for without fully understanding that the good is the enemy of the best. “Real success is when we rise to our true potential,” he told participants.

Speaking about the opportunities in the tourism industry, CTO secretary-general Vincent Vanderpool said that innovation is critically important if the region is to continue having the tourism sector as its number one income earner. “You see parts of the world have caught up with us and we have to reset our levels of innovation in order to climb that steep hill of success if we want to remain at the top,” he said.

Calling on governments to have less involvement in the daily administration of the industry, Vanderpool said that governments need to create and follow rules and because tourism involvement creativity thinking outside of the box the bureaucracy in government can slow progress. “Some governments in the region are trying to change things but because small society move in the area of the conformist, there is always obstacles but they should know that the word no is the difference between private and public sector progress, the private say yes to every no from the public sector,” he said.