V.I. Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty was elected chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization on Wednesday night.
After putting her "hat in the ring about a month ago,” Doty was elected unopposed at the group’s annual meeting in Basseterre, St. Kitts, to a two-year term.
"It is with great humility that I accept this vote of confidence in me and in the U.S. Virgin Islands from the CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism,” Doty said in a press release.
“I look forward to continuing the hard work of outgoing chairman Sen. Richard Skerritt of St. Kitts and Nevis and collaborating with each of the Caribbean’s nations and territories to advance marketing, product and human development efforts through coordinated regional approaches.”
Doty said those in the Caribbean region must continue to plan strategically and act collectively across the public and private sectors, and at the community level, to ensure the continued dynamism and strengthened resilience of the Caribbean tourism product.
“One sea, one voice, one Caribbean,” she said by phone from St. Kitts. Working together will increase everyone’s market share, Doty said.
Doty said efforts to have countries and territories across the Caribbean region work cooperatively have lagged. “The time is right, we need to get it done,” she said.
Doty admitted she faces challenges in getting 30 different destinations to work together, but said that there is agreement on about 80 percent of the issues, which include cruise and air travel development, strengthening the organization and regional marketing.
When her two-year term is up, Doty expects to have stronger collaboration among destinations, a strategy for addressing airline issues and cruise development, and “an active regional marketing plan,” she said.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. congratulated Doty on her election to the post. He said her election to this post “comes at a time when all Caribbean islands, nations and territories must work together for Caribbean tourism to remain viable.”
“Our tourism products are common as are our needs and concerns," deJongh said, adding that the tourism products must be redefined, repackaged and updated to remain competitive.
"Commissioner Doty’s breadth of experience in this industry will be evident as she works with her fellow ministers on the CTO to advance new marketing and development strategies to strengthen tourism in the Caribbean region,” deJongh said.
And in keeping with the CTO constitution, Deputy Tourism Commissioner Chantal Figueroa was appointed by Doty to head the CTO board of directors.
Five vice chairs were also elected to serve on the executive committee of the board of directors, from St. Maarten, Martinique, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Bermuda.