Assisting Caribbean students with scholarships to pursue tourism, hospitality and language studies is a priority for the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
Since the CTO Foundation was established 17 years ago, 143 students have benefited from nearly $1 million in financial aid.
Part of the proceeds from the CTO’s rum & rhythm silent auction on October 30 will go towards the foundation for scholarships.
“We believe that the way forward for the Caribbean is to have an educated workforce,” CTO United States director Sylma Bramble said at a press conference in Toronto last week to promote the upcoming fundraiser and an investment forum. “We hope to increase the number of scholarships we give exponentially. We want to say to every student in the region who applies for a tourism scholarship that we are able to support them. As of now, we are not in a position to do that.”
The inaugural Caribbean investment forum will take place on October 29 at Malaparte, 350 King St. W.
Caribbean government and trade commission officials will be on hand to field questions from potential investors while CTO secretary-general Hugh Riley will be the industry luncheon’s keynote speaker.
“With a stable political climate, premier location and initiatives to stimulate economic growth, the Caribbean region has numerous opportunities with great potential for successful foreign investment,” said independent travel advisor Anne Brobyn who spent a decade in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and is helping the CTO to organize the forum. “Every industry in the Caribbean is impacted by tourism which is the driver of the economies and new foreign investment policies, trade agreements and tax incentives have put the Caribbean on today’s investment radar.
“The upcoming forum is aimed at developing and strengthening relationships within the Canadian-Caribbean investment community. We want to showcase investment opportunities which support tourism in the areas of green energy resources, technology, education, communications, medical services, real estate, construction, insurance and financial services, marinas, fashion, food & beverages, agriculture and the arts.”
New Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) regional manager Vivion Scully joined consuls general and Toronto-based Caribbean tourism and trade officials at the media event. He said Jamaica is well on its way to surpassing last year’s two million mark in stop-over arrivals.
“Jamaica has long been at the forefront of Caribbean tourism,” said Scully who replaced Robert Kerr last June. “The country is a source of paradise and appeal for travellers around the world to the point that towns have become their own brands…Hotels and investment opportunities are surging across the landscape of Jamaica and we invite investors to engage JAMPRO and our tourism board to discuss investment opportunities.”
St. Vincent & the Grenadines consul general Fitzgerald Huggins and Dominica’s trade & investment commissioner Frances Delsol also spoke at the media event.
“The island has unique natural beauty and it’s a tropical haven,” Delsol said. “It’s for the adventurous, the romantic and the faint-hearted. Dominica is for everyone and anyone.”