Minister for Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, Hon. Denise Charles has been appointed chairman of the OECS Council of Ministers: Tourism.

She was officially appointed at the meeting of the council on Thursday, July 21 2022 at the Cabrits Resort and Spa Kempinski.

Minister for Trade, Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Business and Export Development, and Representative of the Prime Minister, Hon. Ian Douglas congratulated Hon. Denise Charles on her appointment.

“I also wish to extend congratulations to our Honorable Minister f Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiative, my colleague and friend, Denise Charles who assumes chairmanship of this grouping of Ministers today. As a young Minister, who assumed the post at the end of 2019, Hon. Charles displayed exceptional leadership of this sector and an astuteness for marketing the destination to ensure continued tourism activity during some of our most difficult days of the pandemic,” Hon. Douglas stated.

Incoming Chairman, Hon. Denise Charles says she is honored and humbled to have been appointed chair of the council. She noted that during her tenure she hopes to focus on regional integration in the tourism sector.

“Right now, we stand at a critical juncture for tourism in our region. We have the perfect opportunity to strategize, regroup and rebound even stronger both collectively and as individual states. During periods of adversity, there are lessons learnt individually and collectively, that can inform our planning and decision making. We need to look for the silver lining in every dark cloud that comes our way. At this important juncture, we should take the opportunity for strengthening bilateral and reginal ties for tourism, so that as a region, we are able to share a diversified marketing campaign, attract more visitors to come to our region and provide unique products and authentic experiences, to create jobs for resilient livelihoods for our people,” Hon. Charles stated.

Hon. Charles says she believes that OECS Council Of Ministers: Tourism is the perfect platform to create policies that can further regional integration.

“I believe that the Council of Tourism Ministers is the perfect platform for bringing together policy makers who can set the foundation for carving out a future tourism sector which is vibrant and sustainable. So I would like to express my gratitude for making it here today. I would also like to congratulate all the Ministers in the health sector, tourism sector and the frontline workers for their excellent work and leadership, timely decision making and effective management of the pandemic. We did our best by putting the health and safety of our people first while still allowing tourism to rebound,” Hon. Charles stated.

The Tourism Minister noted that she is confident that with regional integration and collective marketing, they will boost tourism industries around the region.

“I am confident that as a region we have so many features which make us individually unique and collectively irresistible. With our unique products, in such close proximity, the promotion of many joint packages would be excellent. I can already create the ads. Come to the Eastern Caribbean; enjoy the sun on the amazing beaches of Antigua, Carnival in St. Lucia, delicious food in Grenada, follow your hearts in St. Kitts and Nevis then hop over to Dominica and immerse yourselves in waterfalls,  rivers, hot springs, nature hikes, whale watching, diving and our five star eco resorts. There is a myriad of combinations for regional packages, joint marketing, and benefits for all to build a resilient and sustainable regional tourism sector,” Hon. Charles added.

Meanwhile, Antigua’s Minister for Tourism and Investment and Outgoing Chairman of the OECS Council Of Ministers Of Tourism, Hon. Charles Fernandez says he is pleased to hand over the chairmanship to Hon. Denise Charles.

He says her passion and her dedication shows that the OECS commitment to regional integration has not been lost.

“It gives me great pleasure to handover the baton to the dynamic, energetic Hon. Denise Charles, the Minister of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives of the Commonwealth of Dominica, who ensured that this 7th regular meeting was held in person in Dominica, signifying that the OECS countries’ commitment to reginal tourism has not been lost,” stated Hon. Fernandez.