A special meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Council of Ministers, Tourism was held on September 13, 2022 in Grand Cayman under the chairmanship of Minister of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Denise Charles.
According to a release from the OECS, tourism ministers were in the Cayman Islands for the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s business meetings. As chair of the OECS Council of Ministers Charles capitalised on the opportunity to convene this special meeting to receive an update from the OECS Commissions on the decisions taken at the 7th meeting of the OECS Council of Ministers, Tourism held in Dominica in July 2022.
“In an effort to keep the important regional issues in focus, it is necessary that the OECS Ministers of Tourism meet as often as possible, this allows greater flexibility in our decision-making and collective response to critical matters impacting tourism in the OECS,” Charles said.
OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, who spoke virtually at the start of the meeting remarked that “Any opportunity that presents itself for the OECS Ministers of Tourism to meet, particularly within a face-to-face setting, is to our advantage. At this meeting the OECS was able to provide an update on a number of opportunities that have arisen in the tourism space.”
The meetings received updates on the OECS Commission’s ongoing work on the 11th EDF RIGHT Tourism Enhancement Programme, with interventions in community-based Tourism; Historic/Heritage Tourism with support to National Trusts and similar institutions; and the OECS Niche Tourism Marketing packages and campaign. It was agreed that the Tourism Marketing Task Force that had been established at the July meeting, comprising chief executive officers of the Tourism Authorities and Directors of Tourism, should provide input and oversight of the implementation of the OECS Niche marketing project.
The meeting addressed the going concerns relating to intra-regional travel; received updates on the OECS fast ferry initiative and the facilitation of seamless travel within the OECS region; and provided recommendations on moving the initiative forward.
Ministers also committed to continuous and more frequent dialogue and increased sharing of information on national tourism policies, regulations, and legislation to encourage harmonized positions and redound to the collective benefit of the OECS region.
Ministers of Tourism in attendance were from Dominica, Antigua/Barbuda,St Lucia and Anguilla. A number of senior officials from other States and Territories in the OECS grouping were also in attendance.