St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says he is convinced that CARICOM leaders are now ready to give the tourism sector the necessary impetus to allow it to assume it’s rightful place as the major economic pillar for the development of regional economies.

Speaking to reporters following three hours of talks with Caribbean tourism ministers attending the three-day Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) State of the Industry Conference,  Chastanet said at the last CARICOM summit held in Guyana in July, there was strong recognition among the leaders that greater attention needed to be given to the promotion of the tourism sector.

Prime Minister Chastanet attended the Caucus of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism where he put forward some ideas previously expressed by the Bahamas Prime Minister. The caucus discussed the state of tourism and work on providing material for CARICOM stemming from the decision to make tourism an agenda item.

Chastanet, who is also a hotelier,  has been sharing his vision for the implementation of two initiatives that he believes will assist CARICOM in finding solutions for surmounting some of the economic challenges confronting the regional body.

He told reporters ‎that issues such as correspondent banking and the need for foreign investment meant that it can’t be business as usual. He said some governments have turned to Citizen by Investment Programmes (CIP) ‎because they are all looking for ways to survive the changing global economic environment. Prime Minister Chastanet added that the industrialized countries had put together strategies to ensure their own survival following the global economic crisis while others have been waiting for hand-outs.