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A seminal look at the history and many challenges facing Caribbean tourism will be officially launched at the Caribbean Development Bank in Barbados on Monday, March 17, 2014.
In “Caribbean Tourism,” published by UWI Press, Jean S. Holder, a regional tourism leader and chairman of LIAT – The Caribbean Airline, recounts the turbulent history of tourism’s introduction to the Caribbean and how it has become the major driver of the region’s economy.
Holder, a graduate of Oxford University, reminds readers tourism was a means of diversifying out of a Caribbean sugar industry that was beset with difficulties after emancipation in the 1830’s.
A situation made even more difficult, Holder writes, by the fact that tourism itself is a complex and invasive phenomenon which does not require a history of colonialism and racism to provoke strong reactions in a society.
Holder presents case studies from islands where Caribbean tourism first blossomed – Barbados, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Cuba – to demonstrate the post-emancipation complexities and the measures taken to address them. He details the history of various regional entities and their successes and failures in developing the Caribbean tourism sector.
The accomplished sustainable tourism pioneer, who was at the helm of the Caribbean Tourism Research and Development Centre and its successor Caribbean Tourism Organisation for close to three decades, analyzes Caribbean tourism performance in the second decade of the 21st Century against the background of the world economic recession and the lessons learned from the global downturn.
The LIAT chairman delves into the forecast for global tourism and air transportation performance as well as the prospects of potential markets of the emerging economies of the BRICS group of countries comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
In his calls for a sustainable strategic plan for the sector, which pays special attention to current needs in the areas of product development and the exploration of new niche markets, especially sport, culture and heritage, Holder expresses continuing confidence in the tourism sector.
Holder, a director of several regional private sector companies, asserts that despite the current challenges, the tourism industry is resilient and the Caribbean’s best hope for continued development – provided the region works together and plays to its strengths.
Holder has previously published Errol Barrow: A Souvenir; and Don’t Burn Our Bridges: The Case for Owning Airlines.
The book will be launched by the bank’s President Dr. Warren Smith.