Roseau, Dominica: Denise Charles- Minister of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives of Dominica appointed as the Chairman of the OECS Council of Tourism Ministers on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
During the 7th IECS Council of Ministers of Tourism Meeting at Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski, Dominica, she assumed the office of the position.
While extending greetings, Prime Minister of Dominica- Dr Roosevelt Skerrit, took to Twitter and wrote, “The OECS Council of Tourism Ministers meeting is happening now at the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski, Dominica. Congratulations to Denise Charles, who assumes the Chairmanship of the Council as member states aim to build a more resilient, inclusive & sustainable tourism industry,” wrote the Prime Minister.”
Further, Denise Charles also addressed the meeting and shed light on her priorities and functions as the Charis of the OECS Council of tourism ministers. She asserted that her prime focus would be hospitality training and the enhancement of the regional transportation system. Her top priority would also be to remain on the availability of affordable travel options.
“As we make investments into the infrastructures and processes, the skillset of our people need to be enhanced and fully utilized. It is my distinct pleasure to serve as incoming Chair to the OECS council of tourism ministers; I am elated that after two years of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, our first reunion in person is happening in Dominica” said the Tourism Minister.
Denise Charles stated that the organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has always supported its members’ countries and showed the sense of the families in terms of adversity. When Hurricane Maria hit Dominica in 2017, OECS stood by the country and supported it to recover fast.
She stressed that she would utilize a critical approach on issues such as climate change, harmonizing legislation to carry out seamless operations in each other’s territories.
Outlining the significance of the tourism industry, the Tourism Minister noted that the region received 5 million visitors that ejected over $7 billion into the economic union in 2019.
Denise Charles added that stay-over visitors accounted for 1 million of the visitors, and on all accounts, it was the best year for the tourism industry in the member countries of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). In total, the Caribbean region received 31.5 million stay-over visitors in 2019, as per the data cited by Denise Charles during her address.
“After the best year of tourism, come the worst year ever, and the COVID-19 pandemic damaged the industry, causing hotel closures and impacting many livelihoods that depended on tourism directly or indirectly who were left struggling to survive.”
Further, she referred to the unit of OECS nations and stated that 2022 offered the perfect opportunity to get stringer both collectively and at individual levels.
While referring to the unit of OECS nations, Denise Charles said 2022 is the year that is offering a perfect opportunity to strategize, regroup and rebound stronger both collectively and at individual levels. She said countries must take the opportunity to strengthen bilateral and regional ties on tourism so that, as a region, member states can share a diversified marketing campaign that helps in attracting more visitors and would support the livelihoods of people.