Caribbean and global tourism thought leaders will gather in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands next month to discuss and devise strategies to position Caribbean tourism for major change, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

The State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) will bring together speakers of international and regional acclaim from various fields linked to tourism to provide best case practices and winning strategies on a wide range of issues that impact the region’s primary money earner.

The conference theme will dovetail nicely with the organization’s own vision for Caribbean tourism, according to CTO’s Secretary General Hugh Riley.

The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm weather destination, while the conference them is Realizing the Vision: Positioning Caribbean Tourism for Major Change.

“Working towards that vision and measuring the steps to get there is really a very important part of what we do. We’ll have experts from throughout the Caribbean region and across the world talking about these issues that affect the lives of Caribbean people,” Riley said.

“It’s important to remind ourselves and the whole region that because tourism is everybody’s business, everyone is invited to make their voice heard in their business and to hear what other people are saying about their industry,” he added.

The CTO has confirmed a line-up of presenters that include representatives from some of the world’s major brands, including Google. Riley has said that the Caribbean has a lot to gain by involving these brand leaders in its SOTIC.

“The Caribbean brand is very proud and pleased to work with other strong brands to make sure that we get the point across that we are associating ourselves with experts across this industry and across the world so that we can give this information to the people of the Caribbean and we can benefit from the vast amounts of expertise that exist within and outside our region,” the secretary general said.

SOTIC is being organized in collaboration with the USVI’s department of tourism and will be held at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort in St. Thomas Sept. 17 – 19, 2014.

The SOTIC is the Caribbean’s leading tourism conference, according to the CTO, which said it brings together Caribbean tourism practitioners, policy makers, strategic partners from the public and private sectors, academics and travel professionals, to discuss issues, identify solutions and generally develop courses of action that will benefit the region’s tourism industry.

The CTO, with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of over 30 countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism - One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

The CTO also works in partnership with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association and equally owns the Caribbean Tourism Development Company, a marketing and business development entity dedicated to promoting the Caribbean brand worldwide.