Public, Private and 'Best Practices'

Secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization predicts integration of the sectors

In the last decade we have heard a great deal about private sector-led development, to the point where many of the international development agencies have sought to incorporate this doctrine into their aid policies often, I regret to say, without paying enough attention to the realities of the capacity of the private sector. ...

It is not surprising that this debate should have reached a high point of intensity with respect to the tourism sector, which lends itself so naturally to an integrated public/private sector approach and, therefore, there has been much debate at both the regional and national levels about the roles of the public and private sectors.

Overlaying this debate is the fact that many aspects of globalization and information technology are transforming the way in which many aspects of tourism development are taking place. ...

The challenge of our tourism sector ... is to ascertain what are the best practices (that) will result in creating levels of excellence in Caribbean tourism. This is the purpose of our seminar and, while it is billed as a tourism exercise, I suggest that it will have many lessons for a much wider audience of public/ private sector actors in different fields across the region. ...

We see this seminar as a first step in helping to transform Caribbean national and regional tourism organizations into modern and relevant structures with the ability to operate efficiently and effectively in a fiercely competitive and dynamic world.

We see similar activities taking place at the national levels and (the tourism organization) hopes to be able to play a part in this process of change.

We hope that the national and regional tourism mechanisms of the future will be so integrated with respect to public and private sector activity that much of the current debate will, in fact, become irrelevant and a thing of the past.

We are not unaware of the difficulties (that) we, the public and private sectors, face in achieving these objectives but, from what I hear people saying, they are ready for a change.

Jean Holder’s statement was made July 9 during preparations for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Conference on Public/Private Cooperation.