Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2015 Contents A17
Monday, January 26, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Tourism Organisation (CTO) and
the Curaçao Tourist Board have
announced the dates for the
region s leading tourism forum,
the State of the Industry Con-
ference (SOTIC) 2015.
Curaçao will host SOTIC from
October 21---23 at the famous
World Trade Center in Willem-
stad, bringing together senior
industry decision makers and
interested partners to address the
biggest concerns and opportuni-
ties for Caribbean tourism.
"We are very pleased to have
Curaçao as our host in October
and we look forward to the excel-
lent Dutch Caribbean hospitality
and experience which Curaçao
offers to our regional and inter-
The T&T Manufacturers Asso-
ciation (TTMA) said statements by
Independent Senator David Small
and economist Mary King criticising
the local manufacturing sector have
no basis in fact.
At a recent sitting of the Senate,
Small, said "we have a local man-
ufacturing sector that claims to be
innovative, claims to be competitive."
"I am not too sure about that..." King
alluded to manufacturers being
uncompetitive in a newspaper article
In response, the TTMA pointed
out that the manufacturing sector
contributes approximately nine per
cent of gross domestic product and
is one of T&T s primary sources of
innovation and value addition.
"Local manufacturers have con-
sistently employed over 60,000 cit-
izens. The manufacturing sector
therefore employs significantly more
people than any other sector other
than the Government in Trinidad
and Tobago. Many of our leading
manufacturers are net earners of for-
eign exchange and those who are not
still contribute significantly to the
preservation of foreign exchange
through import substitution," the
"The manufacturing sector has
also demonstrated its sustainability
by routinely cementing its position
as the number one exporter within
the Caricom region, and several of
our members have established man-
ufacturing facilities regionally and
America, Europe and the Far East."
The TTMA said, It is "simply
untrue to imply" that the compet-
itiveness of the sector is the result
of low energy prices and subsidized
diesel since manufacturers have no
significant incentive framework rel-
ative to other sectors such as energy.
"For every perceived advantage
manufacturers have, there are sig-
nificant disadvantages, including a
challenging institutional framework,
small domestic markets and ineffi-
cient bureaucracy---these have been
completely ignored by Senator Small.
Despite these hindrances, local man-
ufacturers have found it possible to
compete through hard work, inno-
vation, imagination and branding."
The TTMA said the senator s com-
ments do nothing to foster confi-
dence in a key sector in the economy
at a critical time.
"We wish to assure the general
public that the manufacturing sector,
as it has done for over three decades
in this country, will continue to be
a productive and sustainable eco-
nomic mainstay and engine for
national growth and development.
As its representative body, the TTMA
will continue its fervent advocacy
and support services to ensure that
the sector continues to move in the
right direction," the group said.
Curaçao to host SOTIC 2015
national delegates," said Hugh Riley,
the CTO s secretary general. "This
year the conference will rise to a new
level, with the involvement of the UN
World Tourism Organisation and the
World Travel and Tourism Council.
The roster of speakers will be impres-
sive, to say the least."
Mr Riley said there are greater ben-
efits to the conference beyond the
intense dialogue on the latest trends
and challenges in global tourism.
"Just as important as the depth of
the dialogue at SOTIC, is affording
our member countries the chance to
showcase their tourism product to
international and regional audiences.
It also injects tourism revenue directly
into their economies through our del-
egates visiting restaurants, attractions,
hotels and shopping centres, which is
a major objective for us when planning
"For that reason, special partner
packages for SOTIC are being arranged
The CTO and Curaçao have already
begun planning a programme that will
include current issues---some contro-
versial and vexing---as well as oppor-
tunities for substantially enhancing
the Caribbean s tourism sector.
"We are very focussed on re-strate-
gising our tourism industry so we have
been participating very actively in the
CTO conferences. Organising and
hosting SOTIC is a positive sign that
we are coming up with new strategies
for our industry," said Stanley Palm,
Curaçao s minister of economic devel-
opment, the government ministry
responsible for tourism. "We are very
multi-cultural and we will definitely
try to show that during the confer-
The CTO State of the Industry Con-
ference brings together some 300
tourism industry leaders from the 30
member-countries of the CTO, as well
as representatives of the regional and
international private sector, academics,
media, students, travel trade partners
and other industry stakeholders from
within and outside the region.
TTMA responds to critics
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