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The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery got off to a start in the US Virgin Islands and had the former President of the US, Bill Clinton, and his wife, Hillary Clinton, in attendance. One of the highlights of the event was a speech by the Jamaican Minister for Tourism, Edmund Bartlett. The Minister made an appeal to all stakeholders present to commit themselves to protecting and supporting those homegrown companies in the Caribbean which have made a significant contribution to the development of tourism in the region.
Sandals Resorts Singled Out for Praise
The Jamaican Tourism Minister went on to make mention of one particular company, Sandals Resorts International and praised it for being responsible for promoting tourism in a big way in the entire Caribbean. His point was that the company had native roots in the region and the onus is on the governments here to extend their support in whichever way possible to such companies. Tourism is a major source of revenue for most economies in the region and millions of tourists visit the islands each year. It attracts a lot of foreign investments too, but how much value such investments add to the local economies is not known. Local companies, like Sandals Resorts International, however, sow back their earnings into expanding their activities in the region and that needs to be encouraged, he said.
CGI has Other Wider Objectives Too
The long-term objective of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery is to
‘…develop new, specific, and measurable plans that advance recovery and promote long-term resiliency across the region’
Of course, tourism is also one of the sectors the CGI has shown a keen interest in. Some parts of these objectives with relevance to the development of tourism in the Caribbean region were also addressed at the meeting by various speakers. Ways to help the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in the tourism sector were brought up. In due course, the respective governments of the different islands may take these steps with the relevant ministries that handle tourism in an effort to promote economic growth.