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Change the attitude towards Caribbean travel – Tourism Official

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - Director of Tourism, Hilary Modeste has highlighted the need for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries to do more to ease the hassle facing nationals when travelling throughout the region.

According to the high ranking tourism official, it has become increasingly difficult to travel the region, not because of inadequate scheduling on the part of the airlines, but primarily due to the complex processing format and attitudes of Caribbean immigration officials.

“What is the point of having a special area that says CARICOM nationals, and when you get there, customs officers spend ten minutes looking at your passport and grudgingly allowing you in. I think if we are very serious about this, and certainly the Caribbean, which is so dependent on tourism, then there has to be a different attitude on the part of our immigration people towards our visitors”, Mr. Modeste said.

His comments came in the wake of many CARICOM countries like St. Lucia, reporting record numbers of inter-regional travel. Mr. Modest is of the view that these statistics could swell even further, with a more efficient and visitor-friendly processing system in place for regional tourists.

Mr. Modeste also underscored moves afoot at bringing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) on stream, which in itself, calls for easing of restrictions on the movement of labour.

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