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Wednesday, October 04, 2006 

Traveling against all odds: A tale of National Security (U.S. WHTI) and the future of the Hospitality Industries in the Caribbean
For some countries and also in some development circles, the contribution of tourism and the expansion of the hospitality industry, have not always been viewed or linked to poverty reduction and national development strategies.
These ambivalent perceptions have often compartmentalized donor’s agendas with biased interpretations vis-à-vis the effectiveness of tourism policies to address pro-poor strategies and the strengthening of sectoral activities to provide consistent income-generation packages, and extension of private sector export-led growth.

This problem has not been an easy one to address given the lack of empirical analysis to document and inform policymaking decisions about the poverty reduction effects of tourism.
Thus, it has been a rocky stretch for some developing economies and in the case of the Caribbean, to maintain a certain level of capacity toward both the stabilization of macro-economic performances, and the creation of jobs and revenues (whether direct or indirect ones) which strongly rely upon the tourism industry to tie up their socio-economic architectures.

And now to make matters worse, comes to full fruition the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) in its mantra to improve security at all U.S. borders and points of entry.
And as a signed and sealed legislation, to 'steamroll' and achieve a mythical level of absolute security, we are also about to witness swift changes on U.S. tourism policy conducive to irreversible impacts on the fragile paths to job creations and sustainable growth for some countries in the western hemisphere.

Tourism is the lifeline of the Caribbean, where the industry spans the depth and breadth of the national economies and represents as high as 97% of all direct and indirect jobs in the country. For the Caribbean nations affected, the economic impact has the potential to be disastrous,” stated Odle, adding: “We fully concur with our public sector partner CTO in their statement equating this piece of legislation with a category 6 hurricane for the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry,


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