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03:57 am – vaina – Evening Telegram Herkimer Victor Gill//
CTO calls for US-Caribbean strategic alliance on tourism

WASHINGTON ? The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has called for a formal partnership between the region?s tourism sector and those responsible for implementing the United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act, known as H.R. 2939.

The CTO said that the Act, which was passed in the United States Congress in December last year and signed into law by then US President Barack Obama, mandates a new long-term strategy to strengthen ties between the US and the Caribbean region.

It said it is designed to increase the security, prosperity and well-being of the people of the United States and the Caribbean.

CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley, addressing the importance of the Act to Caribbean tourism at a recent meeting in Washington, referenced a tourism working group established by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders at their meeting in Guyana in February to guide the development and marketing of Caribbean tourism.

Riley said this appears to align with the US government?s strategy for the Caribbean on many areas related to sustainable development and a mechanism that incorporates the Caribbean?s tourism working group with the entities tasked with implementing H.R.4939.

He said it would be a ?winning formula? for both the US and the Caribbean.

?What an accomplishment it would be for all of us and for the architects of H.R. 4939 if we could report back to our region?s prime ministers and presidents, when we meet with them in February, that there is now a working partnership between the region?s tourism working group and the US/Caribbean Strategic Alliance,? said Riley during a panel focused on ?Building Sustainable Economies? as part of an event staged by the Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA), titled: ?Caribbean 2020 Implementing H.R.

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4939 from Vision to Engagement.?

?Our recommendation is that, together, we waste no time in making that partnership a reality.

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Without doubt, shoring up the Caribbean?s main economic driver is the surest way to protect the third border of the United States,? he added.

Select members of the US Congress addressed the audience of Caribbean Diaspora, diplomats and public sector policy makers including the co-author of the legislation, New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel., Ranking Member of the US House of Representatives? Foreign Affairs Committee; South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan, Chairman, The Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere; and Texas Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Ranking Member, The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

CTO said the Caribbean region is considered the United States? ?third border,? characterized by ?common interests and societal ties that yield daily, tangible benefits for US citizens.

?The U.S.

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is the Caribbean?s primary trading partner, representing a vibrant economic partnership that, in 2016, saw a US$4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million US tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the US,? CTO said.

It said CCAA organized the event to move discussions along between the US and key stakeholders involved with the Caribbean region.

During his presentation, Riley called for a ?balanced approach to the development of strategies and policies that are designed to spur tourism growth while protecting the resource base on which tourism depends,? according to CTO.

The CTO head also advocated a ?sector-specific tourism approach that would provide the greatest effectiveness and long-term sustainability which would be carried out with partnerships between the CTO and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).? (CMC)

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Tags: Barack Obama, USA