OECS wants reduction in Caribbean Tourism Organization membership fees

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Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is seeking a reduction in the membership fees to the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Antigua and Barbuda’s Tourism Minister, Charles Fernandez, has said.

He said the issue was raised at the first business meeting of the CTO held in Curaçao last week.

“Although the bigger islands pay more than the smaller islands, if you pro-rate it per visitor, you will find out that we pay more per visitor received than the bigger islands. I find that it needs to be re-calibrated. This has gone on for years and no one has ever raised it,” said Fernandez.

The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

The CTO is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of Dutch, English, French and Spanish countries and territories, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members.

Its primary objective is to provide to and through its members the services and information necessary for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people by among other things developing and promoting regional travel and tourism programs to and within the Caribbean as well as assisting member countries, particularly the smaller member countries with minimal promotional budgets, to maximize their marketing impact through the collective CTO forum.

Fernandez, said another major outcome of last week’s meeting was a decision by the CTO to write off thousands of dollars owed by Antigua and Barbuda in 2017, taking into consideration the damage caused by Hurricane Irma in Barbuda.

“Although the hurricane did not hit Antigua, Barbuda is a part of us and they had not given us the credit for that; however, we were able to get that done,” Fernandez said, noting that several other islands have already benefitted from the initiative.

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