The Caribbean is ripe for investment opportunities, a sentiment solidly expressed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in its first investment guide launched recently in Puerto Rico at a conference.
Both the editor of the Caribbean Tourism and Hospitality Investment Guide and the CTO secretary general lauded the initiative aimed at attracting investors and developers to the member states.
Editor Sandra Baptiste, a consultant, told The Camera in a Toronto interview that tourism destinations are seeking investment to build new accommodations including luxury resorts, boutique hotels, Eco and fishing lodges as well as medical tourism facilities such as health care facilities, wellness centres, spas and rehabilitation centres.
The investment guide was distributed to some 400 investors at the Puerto forum from as far as New Zealand, Australia, Europe and North America, she said.
“If a few investors put thousands of dollars into some of these countries, it means jobs, food on the table for people, it means growth in the economy,” said, Baptiste, a U.S.-based Guyanese native.
Representatives of Caribbean governments are also recipients of the guide, which contains contact information for each of the countries listed including Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, The Bahamas, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Bermuda.
She added that some countries are “keen on attracting investment for new theme parks, golf courses, marina projects, ports and cruise terminals while others are seeking joint ventures for heritage tourism facilities, sports tourism projects, art galleries, the film industry and recording studios as well as entertainment establishments. Investment opportunities also exist for new restaurants, cafes and bistros.”
However, the former head of the Guyana Investment Office in Guyana knows too well there can be barriers. “Our consulates are critical in terms of having the right information and connecting people and making sure that investment agencies are on top of investment enquiries.”
CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley told The Camera that each member state has their rules and regulations but they are encourage them to have what he calls a “one stop shop” for investors, where they can acquire the necessary information and guidance for meaningful investment.
He added that the investment guide is just a template. “It is not a compendium of opportunities of every single kind but it does give people an opportunity to see where to go if you’re looking for information for investing in any CTO member countries in the Caribbean.”
Riley said of the investment conference in Puerto Rico “We are hearing very good news about the prospects of more investments and investments means more and more employment, opportunities for people in the Caribbean to improve their livelihood, a more competitive stance.”
For information on the CTO, visit www.CaribbeanTravel.com and for the CHTA visit www.CaribbeanHotelandTourism.com.
A Page 1 story on the CTO in last week’s Camera attributed to Jasminee Sahoye was written by Gerald V. Paul.