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CTO Outdoes Itself With Successful STC-14 In Trinidad And Tobago
  

The Caribbean Tourism Organization
(CTO) and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago partnered to present the 14th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-14), held from April 15-18, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency in Trinidad.

With the theme Keeping the Right Balance: Enhancing Destination Sustainability through Products, Partnerships, Profitability, the long anticipated conference explored ways the Caribbean can enhance destination sustainability and competitiveness in the current global environment by examining a number of critical issues.

The four-day conference offered everything from timely general sessions with thought-provoking titles like Creating and Managing Sustainable Caribbean Destinations and Rethinking Destination Development, Branding and Marketing for the Responsible Traveler, to a spectacular opening night ceremony with dazzling costumes, pulsating Caribbean rhythms and outstanding cultural offerings.

 

In his welcome address, Hon. Stephen Cadiz - Minister of Tourism - Trinidad & Tobago set the tone for the conference. “Sustainable tourism development, ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with me are no longer just mere clichés. Over the past decade or so, there has been a tremendous body of research and discussion regarding conservation and protection of our resources. Most stakeholders have come to realize that it is in our own interest to devise ways and means to correct whatever could still be remedied.

This year’s theme, he emphasized, “strikes at the very basis of what is a fragile industry. Countries that have chosen tourism development as one of the main pillars for their economic development should by now have come to terms with their own vulnerability. Not only is the industry fragile, but it has also ripple effects on all other sectors of the economy.”

 

Beverly Nicholson-Doty, who also addressed the opening night crowd on Monday, concurred. “Our God-given natural bounty, indeed, is the basis of our thriving tourism industry. As one of the most tourism dependent regions in the world, it is crucial to ensure our constituents fully understand the preservation of these valuable resources will determine our success in the future.” Nicholson-Doty is commissioner of tourism for the United States Virgin Islands and chairman of the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism for the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

A majestic performance that is captivating and reflects the inner energies of the Caribbean, was how Acting Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Winston Dookeran summed up the official opening ceremony and welcome reception of the conference.

Dookeran who delivered the feature address at Monday night’s ceremony charged delegates to use the conference to find ways in which the Caribbean could develop its own measures of sustainability in the face of ongoing economic challenges.

Dookeran, who serves as his country’s minister of Foreign Affairs, said the global tourism industry continues to be a highly resilient one having weathered many a storm in the past. “This coupled with its capacity to respond and adjust to a changing environment has made the industry one which every region of the world is going after,” Dookeran said.

In addition to the general sessions and several cutting edge workshops – Partnering Strategies to Increase Profitability and Visitor Spending, and Collaborating With Tour Operators to Promote Sustainable Tourism Products – STC-14 also offered an exhibition, and awards luncheon, a youth forum, a host of networking opportunities, and over-the-top theatrical presentations that featured magnificent Carnival costumes that have to be seen to be believed.

Media representatives attending STC-14 were treated to pre-conference tours of Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday and Monday, while all delegates participated in all-day study tours on Wednesday, with choices ranging from Sugar Heritage & Museum Tours and Chaguaramas National Park and Gasparee Caves tours, to Wildfowl Trust, Pointe-a-Pierrer and Brasso Seco tours.
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