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State Of Tourism Conference Kicks Off in Turks and Caicos

From left – Former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands Hon. Rufus Ewing; current Premier Hon. Washington Misick; Tourism Minister for the Cayman Islands and Chairman for the CTO Hon. Kenneth Bryan and Tourism Minister for the Turks and Caicos Islands Hon. Josephine Connolly at the SOTC Welcome Reception at the Grace Bay Resort.

Turks and Caicos Islands, October 9, 2023 - The Caribbean Tourism Association's (CTO) State Of Tourism Conference (SOTC) commenced with an extravagant welcome reception, showcasing the rich culture of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Monday.

The event took place at the opulent Grace Bay Club, nestled on the world-renowned Grace Bay Beach, certified by the World Travel Awards (WTA), Conde Nast Travel, Trip Advisor, Traveler’s Choice and numerous other top international travel movers and shakers as the World's Best Beach.

Attendees included 12 Ministers of Tourism from across the region and numerous delegates and media representatives from both the Caribbean region and the United States.

The reception not only featured captivating cultural performances unique to the Turks and Caicos Islands but also offered a taste of the country's finest local cuisine.

Hon. Josephine Connolly, the Minister of Tourism for the Turks and Caicos Islands, extended a warm welcome to the dignitaries and encouraged them to take time to savor the natural beauty of the country, from its turquoise waters to its powdery white sandy beaches.

Hon. Kenneth Bryan, the Minister of Tourism for the Cayman Islands and Chairman of the CTO, shared insights into the objectives of the SOTC. He emphasized the need to strategize on how the Caribbean region can capture a larger share of the international tourism market, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism Minister Hon. Josephine Connolly (left) take time to share lens with a local culture group

Minister Bryan stated, "Post-pandemic, the Caribbean, including the Turks and Caicos, has undergone significant changes. Our responsibility is to closely monitor the trends in business and guest arrivals in our economies, particularly within the tourism sector. We must continuously seek opportunities for improvement and resolution of any emerging issues. Fortunately, the good news is that there is not much that needs resolution; we are all performing exceptionally well."

He continued, "I am particularly proud of Minister Connolly for her outstanding performance in terms of the tourism numbers. As member states, we engage in this annual exercise to ensure that we remain at the forefront of the global tourism industry.

“We already have a strong market share worldwide, and the exciting part is that we are the most attractive region in the world for tourists. There is still ample room for growth, and we have the best environment, weather, culture, and scenic beauty to offer. Each of our islands possesses a unique charm. Hence, our goal is to leverage evolving media platforms, marketing strategies, and cutting-edge AI analytics to stay ahead of the competition and ensure that all member states, including the Turks and Caicos, benefit from this."

Chefs getting ready to serve-up a storm

The SOTC promises to be an influential forum where stakeholders will collaborate on shaping the future of Caribbean tourism, enhancing its global appeal, and driving sustainable growth in the region's vital industry. The event underscores the commitment of Caribbean nations to offering travelers unparalleled experiences and preserving the natural treasures that make the Caribbean a top tourist destination.

The conference kickstarts on Wednesday, October 11, at the Shore Club Resort in Long Bay, and continues on Thursday. However, a number of events have been prepared leading up to the conference.

Charles Henry Fernandez (left), Minister for Tourism, Foreign Affairs, and Immigration - Antigua & Barbuda, share a photo moment with Hon. Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

On Sunday, October 8, a press orientation briefing was held, followed by a tour (via boat) from Turtle Cove Marina to Grace Bay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos. On Monday, October 9, Tourism Ministers and/or Directors from around the region shared destination news and information at official “Destination Media Briefings”, which was followed by the welcome reception later in the evening.

On Friday, October 13, the Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress will feature presentations from the region’s youth on the future of Caribbean tourism.


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