Under a slogan that goes “Sustainable Tourism in Challenging Times,” the 2009 World Travel Market (WTM) is now becoming a great setting of work and promotion for Latin American and Caribbean nations attending this event. Those countries are bound to max out their efforts in terms of actions and contacts in a bid to counteract the fallout of the international crisis. With this view in mind, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) recently called on the region to beef up its international promotional campaigns and programs in all outbound markets and in every possible scenario. This is a region marked by diversity and multiculturalism, but at the same time closely interconnected as a travel destination, a world region whose leaders understand the need to work together in order to strengthen their stance as travel destinations. Sustainability and challenges are being put on the working table at WTM as clear signs of the times we’re living now. The international economic crisis is forcing us to be far more creative and efficient, to pinpoint those things that ought to be either changed or improved. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has also called on its member states to get together in mapping out and implementing common promotional policies, in working toward the opening and securing of long-haul markets in Europe, in developing new products and designing joint strategies for the sake of environmental protection. The Caribbean travel destinations have major challenges on the road ahead, like stepping up intraregional airlift and outlining a development profile in which cultural values play a bigger role, in which there’s room for complementary travel options beyond their traditional sun-and-beach offerings. These are the objectives behind this year’s WTM that this time around has scheduled a Ministerial Summit of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to address the industry’s situation amid the ongoing international crisis, its perspectives and working variants from a standpoint of viable and sustainable business. This is no doubt the very best chance for Latin America and the Caribbean

José Carlos de Santiago