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A leading Caribbean tourism official wants to see Caribbean nationals derive more benefits from the tourism industry, leading to greater generational wealth for residents of the region.

Speaking at the first Global Tourism Resilience Conference, which was held in Kingston, Jamaica last week, Jamaican hotelier Nicola Madden-Greig said this goal can be achieved by focusing on building an entrepreneurial class and through the continued strengthening of small- and medium-sized tourism enterprises.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig rubs shoulders with (from left) media veteran Peter Greenberg; Jamaica's Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett; and former Prime Minister of Jamaica P.J. Patterson at last week's Global Tourism Resilience Conference.

Calling for "no one to be left behind," Madden-Greig, who is the president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), recalled that tourism in the Caribbean was started by "the mom and pops in the small communities" and was followed by the "big players" who saw the huge potential of tourism.

"As we continue to grow, we have to make sure that we use tourism to build out our entrepreneurial class … but also to look at generational wealth and not solely be employees, but become owners of the product and the experience," said Madden-Greig, who believes this ought to be one of the fundamental pillars of resilience.

She cited opportunities for young people in technology, website development, accounting and legal services as often-overlooked aspects of the tourism sector. "All of this is available to us and to our nationals to push as the backward linkages of tourism. It's not just about the top line levels, but everything else," she commented.

The CHTA president, who is the Group Director of Marketing & Sales for The Courtleigh Hospitality Group, also called for the combining of forces in the region to build resilience, strengthen tourism and promote multi-destination travel. "We need to look at one Caribbean strategy where everybody understands that the Caribbean is not a place you visit once, it's a place you visit numerous times because of the diversity of the region."

Hailing the conference as a timely examination of the key elements needed to strengthen the region's major economic driver, Madden-Greig extended special congratulations to Jamaica's Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett on birthing the idea for the meeting as well as driving the international community's adoption of Global Tourism Resilience Day on February 17. "This is a monumental achievement that will help to remind us annually of the need to focus on building out a resilient and sustainable industry," she commented.

Similar tourism discussions with concrete action items, she noted, will be tabled during CHTA's Caribbean Travel Forum and Awards, a precursor to Caribbean Travel Marketplace , to be held in Barbados from May 9 to 11 this year.

About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean's leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 60 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean's future and helping members to grow their businesses. Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.

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