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UNWTO director says tourism growing despite downturn

Speaking at the First Regional Seminar on Tourism held in Nassau this week, United Nations World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) regional director for the Americas said that tourism was proving resilient despite recent challenges. The seminar is being held at the Sheraton and runs through today. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011

An international tourism expert has predicted the sector will continue to grow worldwide and evolve to address challenges in the market in the upcoming years.

The global tourism industry is proving extremely resilient despite an unstable economy and shaken customer confidence, according to Carlos Vogeler, the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) regional director for the Americas.

“Tourism is resilient. It has a tremendous capacity for recovery that demonstrates what a dynamic sector it can be,” he said.


In the Caribbean region international arrivals numbered 20.2 million in 2010, a 3.3 per cent year-on-year increase, while total revenue increased 3.2 per cent to reach $23.9 billion.

Vogeler, who spoke at the First Regional Seminar on Tourism: SMEs and Tourism Development held in Nassau, was optimistic about the outlook for 2011 and beyond, saying the UNWTO was projecting a 4-5 per cent increase in arrivals worldwide this year.

“Growth is continuing and that is confirming the recovery of tourism.”

The UNWTO representative also highlighted some of the challenges faced by the tourism industry in recent years, saying that although the economic downturn has led to an increase in domestic travel, vacationers are spending less, there is a reduction in business travel and an increasing emphasis on obtaining value for money. He also warned that the sector faces other concerns in the future, including inflation, rising interest rates, persistently high unemployment and volatile oil prices.

Vogeler said the industry is adapting to meet these challenges, however, using strategies such as the internet, e-marketing and public-private partnerships to cater to a more cost-conscious consumer.

“The evolving marketplace requires changes in our business model,” he told attendees of the seminar yesterday. “It is an ongoing exercise. Today’s tourist is much more knowledgeable, much more experienced and better educated. They know what they want, they know what they can get and we need to respond to that.”

cboal@dupuch.com

Speaking at the First Regional Seminar on Tourism held today in Nassau, Minister of State for Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace called for greater use of technology by SMEs in the sector. The two-day seminar has attracted tourism representatives from across the Caribbean

Wendy Warren, chief executive officer and executive director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) will resign from her post at the end of the year. A key member of the financial services sector, Warren has been at the forefront of the industry in the jurisdiction for more than a decade.

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