Bahamas elected chair of Caribbean Tourism Organization


New CTO Chairman Obie Wilchcombe of The Bahamas (right) receives the gavel from his predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados. Also in photograph, CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (left)


Barbados — The Bahamas has been elected chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with the election of minister of tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

The election took place on 15 September in Barbados at the organization’s annual general meeting during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC).

Following his election Wilchcombe stated: “I intend to build upon what [immediate predecessor Richard Sealy of Barbados] began and I also intend to build on the relationship with the private sector. I’ve always thought that CTO is the body that provides equity and we can; and the way is to speak with the same voice. We also have to deal with the issue of inter-regional travel.”

Wilchcombe succeeds Barbados’s minister of tourism and international transport Richard Sealy, and will serve a two-year term. It is his second stint as chairman, having previously been elected to the position in 2002.

The Bahamas minister will shortly name his appointee for the post of chairman of the CTO board of directors, since, according to the CTO constitution, the board chairman and the chairman of the council of ministers and commissioners of tourism must come from the same member country.

In addition to the election of the chairman, vice chairs were elected to serve on the executive committee of the board of directors to represent various sub-groups – Curacao, representing the Dutch Caribbean; Martinique representing the French Caribbean; Barbados and Belize, representing the Independent CARICOM countries and the Turks and Caicos Islands representing the British Overseas Territories. Each of these member countries will form the executive committee of the board of directors, which will be completed with representatives from the private sector.

Thursday’s vote was in keeping with the CTO constitution, which mandates that elections must be held every two years.

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