The Caribbean's tourism sector is uniquely important to economic and social life in the region, and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) will indeed be celebrating World Tourism Day 2018 when it is launched in Budapest, Hungary on September 27.
Apart from the importance of tourism to sustainable development, this World Tourism Day highlights the importance of digital technologies to the sector.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) also hails the power of innovation to boost growth for a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector.
Competing, as we do, in a global market, we in the Caribbean are leveraging digital technology to attract visitors and keep them coming, and also transferring those skills to our wider economy.
Digital technology helps us to customize our product, so that discerning travelers can decide what they want to do and what they want to experience.
The internet has fostered our economic growth through tourism by shortening the trip planning and purchase process, bridging the gap between dreams and the decision to book, allowing small operators to show their wares and answer questions, and allowing online bookings and follow-up.
Data-driven marketing and promotion allow suppliers to understand guest preferences so travelers can connect with our people and our destinations even before they land on our shores.
CHTA members are investing heavily in digital technology and we look forward to the upcoming launch of The Rhythm Never Stops marketing campaign as we, along with our partners in the public sector, build our region's brand and let the world know more about the many exciting and diverse travel choices they can experience today throughout the Caribbean.
As the preeminent private sector travel and tourism association in the Caribbean, we will continue to lead the search for innovative ways to market our destinations and to improve the product and the profitability of the industry.
We welcome World Tourism Day with vibrant Caribbean enthusiasm and pledge our region's support for, and involvement in, technological innovation.