The Caribbean Tourism Organization is to close its UK office as part of a major restructure to streamline costs and operations and boost tourism to the region.

In a statement, CTO chairman Dominic Fedee said the tourist board would shut the UK office by January 31, 2020, and its US office by December 31. It will also carry out a “comprehensive audit” of its Barbados office.

The move follows “much discussion” over the last 20 years on how to promote and develop tourism in the Carribean, he said. The CTO believes that for it to play a stronger role in achieving this goal it needs to “reinvent and reposition” the organisation.

He said: “While there have been many visions, plans, papers written and philosophies espoused, there has been widespread acceptance that much improvement  is needed to elevate tourism development in the region.

“Some of the most discussed aspirations range from marketing the Caribbean as a single brand, more in-depth research, and a greater uniformed approach to policy formulation and product development.”

The move is expected to “significantly reduce” the operational costs of the CTO, allowing it to “more capacity to undertake its key functions of regional marketing, statistics and research, and product development.”

In a reference understood to relate to current staff, he admitted this would lead to some “displacement” but said it represented a strong revitalisation of the CTO and was necessary to develop tourism to the Caribbean.