Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 25th 2016 Contents BG22 REGIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 25 • 2016
September 26-27, 2016 Miami Beach
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Prime Minister Andrew Holness
says the Government is
strengthening initiatives to
tackle the threat of interna-
tional banks ending their cor-
respondent banking relation-
ships with local financial institutions.
In order to reduce reputational risks and be
in compliance with international regulations,
particularly relating to criminal activity, such
as money laundering, fraud and terrorist
financing, international banks have threatened
to cut ties with banks in the region in a de-
Holness said he considers the issue "a clear
and present danger."
He noted that the Government is working
assiduously to lobby banking counterparts in
the United States, as well as to engage local
banks on ways to mitigate the threat.
The Prime Minister added that the Gov-
ernment has held a series of consultations
with stakeholders and has been working closely
with banks to ensure compliance with inter-
national standards. He said he has also met
with the Bank of Jamaica and the Ministry of
Finance and the Public Service, to facilitate
further discussion on the matter.
"At Caricom, all the leaders agree that we
would make a concerted effort to lobby the
United States on ensuring that the correspon-
dent banking issue does not de-stabilise the
fiscal and economic growth security of the
countries," he said.
The Prime Minister emphasised that coun-
tries in the region must move quickly to ensure
that their legislative and regulatory frameworks
align as much as possible with international
"The process is ongoing and I think that
there is an evolving understanding on the part
of the US regulators about the Jamaican chal-
lenges and the threats that de-risking poses,"
Holness also commended local banks for
initiatives already taken to mitigate the risks.
Correspondent banking involves banks in
large countries facilitating certain transactions
for other banks. This may include wire trans-
fers, business transactions, deposits and gath-
ering of documents on behalf of the other
Caricom has indicated that it will be hosting
a global conference in the Caribbean aimed
at strengthening this advocacy.
Jamaica's response to derisking...
The president of the Caribbean Hotel and
Tourism Association (CHTA), Karolin
Troubetzkoy, sees the upcoming
Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange
Forum (CHIEF) as an opportunity for
hotels and tourism-related businesses to take stock
and to "open our eyes to the bigger picture, which
is so important if we want to succeed not only as
individual businesses and destinations, but also as a
Speaking to reporters earlier this month in Miami,
where CHTA is headquartered, Troubetzkoy stated
the second annual forum, slated for the El Conquistador
Resort in Puerto Rico from September 30 to October
2, 2016, will build on the success of last year s forum.
She contended the upcoming exchange is an espe-
cially important one since 2016 has proven so far to
be a year of significant change and challenges for the
Caribbean hospitality industry. As an example, she
pointed to growth in travel to Cuba where approx-
imately 2.1 million travelers visited the island during
the first six months of 2016, an 11.7 per cent increase
over the same period in 2015.
"We have to ask what effect the opening of Cuba
to US travelers will have on the rest of the Caribbean.
How will we deal with the shift of more American
travelers going to Cuba and how will we make up for
CHTA embraces the lifting of the Cuba trade embar-
go and the lifting of US travel restrictions. At the
same time, the association cautions in its policy paper
on Cuba that this serves as a wake-up call for many
destinations and hotel operators in the region to elevate
their game and become more competitive.
At CHIEF, hoteliers will also be looking at another
element of concern, the impact of the growing sharing
economy led by Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. With
the Caribbean region poised to surpass the 30 million
mark in visitor arrivals for the first time this year
(although hotels are reporting mixed results in occu-
pancies), Troubetzkoy believes the traditional accom-
modations industry must be prepared to understand
shifting consumer motivations and to find creative
ways to make the sharing economy work to its advan-
High on the list of issues currently impacting the
Caribbean tourism sector are: the effects of Zika, the
Brexit outcome, increases in global terrorism risks,
high airfares, rising hotel operating costs, and ineffective
"At CHIEF there will be a healthy dose of peer-
to-peer exchanges to flush out ideas and best practices.
There is no doubt that Caribbean hotels and desti-
nations which adapt to change and are prepared to
deal with uncertainty are better positioned to come
out ahead," said Troubetzkoy.
Sessions at this year s CHIEF conference will focus
on environmental sustainability, operations, sales and
marketing, and technology.
adapt to succeed
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