The UK arm of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) looks set to continue operations after announcing its London office would close.
Members of the advisory board have decided to contract the work out to current CTO director Carol Hay and have appealed to existing members to back the plans.
In October, the CTO announced it would close its UK office by January 31 2020 as part of a major restructure to save costs. Its US office is also due to close.
In an email to members, chair of the UK Chapter, Colin Pegler, said Hay would run the UK arm through her newly formed company McKenzie Gayle Limited.
She will be supported by a small staff, including current team member Florian Devillers, which is “experienced in tourism strategy, digital marketing, trade relations and events planning”.
The email stated: “The CTO UK Chapter advisory board has taken the unanimous decision to continue CTO’s operations, with its own London base, once the CTO’s corporate office is closed.
“To this end, effective 01 February 2020, the CTO UK Chapter will contract the services of the current CTO director, Carol Hay, through her own newly formed company McKenzie Gayle Limited.
“Carol is ideal to run the chapter, having over 25 years’ experience in the tourism industry, spanning CTO, Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Authority, BWIA International Airways, the Jamaica Tourist Board and Jamaica Trade and Invest.
“You are all members of the CTO UK Chapter Ltd and as such the Chapter is able to re-position so that it becomes largely unaffected by the closure of the CTO’s corporate London office.”
Pegler said the CTO would be able to continue to run events such as the Caribbean Ball and operate websites including its online travel agent training portal.
In addition, Pegler said the CTO would have a greater consumer focus, increasing digital marketing activity and launch a Future Leaders Advisory Council, made up of 10 members under the age of 30 to develop the Caribbean Month programme for 2020.
He said the CTO UK Chapter Advisory Board would no longer function in an advisory capacity, but as an executive board, managing the activities of Hay and her team.
“To enable us to make this work and to carry on all of the much loved and valued activities of the CTO in the UK and Europe, we urgently need your support,” Pegler said.
“All CTO UK Chapter memberships are due to renew in January and we urge you all to confirm your membership and to arrange payment as early as possible.
“The Caribbean is a very important region for us all and only by working together can we ensure that we remain strong, productive and financially viable.
“We cannot allow this crucial territory to not have a unified marketing body in the UK.
“The only way to save and develop this entity and all of the great work that it does for the region and each member, is for you to show our marketing team, and the board of directors your support by renewing your membership.”