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CTO elects Wilchcombe as chair

Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe has been elected chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organizatio. The election took place last week in Barbados at the organization’s annual general meeting during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference. Joy Jibrilu, The Bahamas' Director General of Tourism, was also named chairman of the CTO's board of directors. Pictured: New Chairman Obie Wilchcombe (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley. (Photo courtesy Bahamas Ministry of Tourism)

Ministry of Tourism
Monday, September 19, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016

NASSAU, Bahamas, September 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe was elected as the new chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) at the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Barbados on Thursday, September 15.

Minister Wilchcombe, who will serve his second non-consecutive two-year term, replaces Barbados Tourism Minister Richard Sealy.

“I intend to build up on what [Sealy] began and I also intend to build on the relationship with the private sector,” Wilchcombe said in a statement following the election. “I’ve always thought that the CTO is the body that provides equity and we can; and the way is to speak with the same voice. We also have to deal with the issue of inter-regional travel,” Minister Wilchombe said.

Wilchcombe, who previously served as CTO chairman in 2002, said he is honored to be at helm of the Caribbean organization once again. He added that in order to achieve greater success, the Caribbean community must have a spirit of togetherness.

Joy JibriluTourism Director General Joy Jibrilu was named chairman of CTO Board of Directors. According to the CTO Constitution, the Board Chairman and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism must come from the same Member Country.

Director General Jibrilu said she is “extremely honored” to serve. “It is a phenomenal opportunity for The Bahamas,” she said. “I am anxious to begin my work and to continue to build on the wonderful job that Minister Sealy and his team has done over the last two years. Minister Wilchcombe and I have our work cut out for us but we are up to the task.”

In addition to the election of the chairman, vice chairs were elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors to represent various sub-groups – Curacao, representing the Dutch Caribbean; Martinique representing the French Caribbean; Barbados and Belize, representing the Independent CARICOM countries and the Turks & Caicos Islands representing the British Overseas Territories.

Each of these Member Countries will form the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, which will be completed with representatives from the private sector.

The conference, which ended Saturday, was held at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

Castaway Cay (pictured) in The Bahamas ranked highest among cruise line private islands, and topped all Caribbean categories combined in a recent survey by Cruise Critic website. Cruisers praised the island's clean, beautiful beaches and multitude of options for both kids and adults.

The Caribbean region saw 28.7 million visitors in 2015, an increase of 7 per cent over 2014 and a record in terms of number of arrivals to the region, according to the outgoing chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. At present, 2016 is pacing ahead of 2015 and for the first time the region is likely to see 30 million visitors.

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