The 19th staging of the Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) on Sustainable Tourism ended on a high note in Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston, on Sunday, October 3 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel with Bermuda’s Premier Dr. Ewart Brown receiving the 2010 World Leadership Award and Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett accepting the 2010 Exemplar Award.
The closing dinner also saw a number of journalists being recognized for their excellent coverage of tourism throughout the region. Among the award winners were: Ingrid Brown of the Jamaica Observer; Dennis Morrison, Jamaican Columnist; Inderia Saunders of the Nassau Guardian and New York-based photojournalist Margot Jordan. Following the presentation of awards, delegates were treated to an entertaining and mesmerizing performance by Israeli-Canadian mentalist Haim Goldenberg.
The four-day conference, which was held under the theme “Tourism: Linkages for Growth,” saw a number of interesting panel discussions exploring the linkages between tourism and various sectors including culture, agriculture and education.
Tourism Director John Lynch in issuing his charge to delegates and declaring CMEx XIX open, said there is no denying the importance of travel and tourism to the Caribbean, and added that much more needs to be done to ensure that the region is able to realize its full potential to grow the industry despite the threats posed by a volatile global economy.
“Many citizens in our various islands feel disconnected from the industry, not realizing that we all benefit from tourism in some way as a result of its contribution to the national economy; and each has a role to play in ensuring its continued success. Our livelihood in the region and our ultimate survival are inextricably linked to travel and tourism. It is up to us to communicate that effectively to the wider population, and to promote an understanding that we all benefit from tourism, either directly or indirectly,” noted Lynch.
Organizers of this popular regional media and tourism gathering have reported that CMEx XIX, which attracted more than 100 delegates from the Caribbean, North America and Europe, was a resounding success.
“The exciting and innovative CMEx recommendations reflect the commitment of participants to use their collective brain-power to contribute meaningfully to sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean,” said Bevan Springer, President of the Caribbean Media Exchange. “From using tourism to boost farmer incomes while increasing local food in hotels through enhancing faith tourism to greater collaboration with the Caribbean Diaspora, and newly formed linkages to African American media professionals, our Kingston meeting has produced some strong outcomes.”
Another Kingston CMEx highlight, he noted, occurred when participants contributed educational supplies to two impressive community service projects – the Maxfield Park Children’s Home and the Kintyre Basic School.
Since 2001, CMEx has produced 19 conferences and symposia throughout the Caribbean and North America to underscore the value of the region’s largest industry, tourism, in improving the health, education, culture, environment and wealth of Caribbean communities, at home and abroad, in a sustainable fashion.
The recent CMEx meeting was supported by the Jamaica Tourist Board and Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism. Additional contributors include : Air Jamaica/Caribbean Airlines, Altamont Court Hotel, American Airlines, Anse Chastanet Resort, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Barbara Pyle Foundation, Bay Gardens Resorts, Bob Marley Museum, British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Caribbean Tourism Organization, CaribWorldNews, Choice Hotels International, Coco Palm, Community Benefit Development, Courtleigh Hotel & Suites, Devon House, 4P Group, Jade Mountain, Knutsford Court Hotel, LIAT, Marketplace Excellence, Mayberry Investments Ltd., michael D. communications, Princess Hotel Guyana, RIU Hotels & Resorts, Ruder Finn, Saint Lucia Tourist Board, Scotchies Tree, Spanish Court Hotel, Spirit Airlines, SuperClubs, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Tourism Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, Wyndham Kingston Jamaica and The SpeakEasy M.E.D.I.A. Foundation.