Caribbean Tension

The relationship between the cruise lines and the Caribbean island destinations seems to have taken a turn for the worse after the positive overtures made this past winter.

A Tourism Task Force of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), headed up by Michael Manley, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, has called for a regional body, like the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), to develop a licensing arrangement and tax regulations for cruise ships sailing in the Caribbean.

Manley has reportedly been meeting with government leaders throughout the Caribbean to drum up support for his proposal. A similar plan was proposed by St. Lucia last year.

While the Caribbean hotel industry is likely to support the concept, Caribbean governments may have little choice but to follow suit since the hotel industry represents sizeable voting power on each island.

In sharp reaction to the proposal, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) has suspended its working relationship with the CTO citing the CTO's failure to repudiate the CHA for what it calls a misinformation campaign about the cruise industry.

According to the FCCA, Manley is heading up the task force for the CHA while also being a paid consultant for the CHA and for the Sandals Resort hotel chain.

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