CTO - Hugh Riley


Mr Hugh Riley, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) for the CTO’s State of the Industry Conference, scheduled for September 14-17, 2011.

st martinWho is Mr Hugh Riley ?
Hugh Riley is the Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, (CTO). As the chief executive officer he oversees the CTO’s offices in Barbados, North America, the UK and Europe and leads the organization’s initiatives to strengthen relations with the tourism industry’s key strategic partners; these include hotels, airlines, cruise lines and all categories of retailers and wholesale packagers of the Caribbean’s tourism products.

His responsibility is to deliver the CTO’s mission as the Caribbean’s tourism development agency, providing specialized services and technical support to thirty-three governments and a variety of private sector members in the areas of marketing, human resource development, communication, research and statistics, information technology and sustainable tourism development.

Mr. Riley joined the staff of the CTO New York in 2002 as director of marketing, after having worked in a number of senior tourism positions in the U.S, Canada and the Caribbean over a period of twenty years. He is credited with having instituted new air services from North and South America to his native Barbados and the Caribbean, and was responsible for engaging the Caribbean Diaspora and the traveling public through uniquely targeted events in major cities throughout North America. He was honored by the New York City Council for his contribution to the cultural life of that City.

In his current capacity he directs the activities of teams of tourism professionals in managing Caribbean tourism’s human and financial resources and raising public awareness of the Region as the world’s premier warm weather tourism destination.

Hugh Riley got his start in marketing communications as an account executive and a copywriter with McCann-Erickson Advertising and later in sales management for radio stations. He is a BBC London trained broadcaster and worked as an on-air radio personality and interviewer. He attended the City University of New York and Thomas Edison State College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and studied tourism management at the University Of Surrey. As a member of the Board of Directors of various travel, tourism and academic bodies, he is widely quoted in industry publications and is a frequent speaker at tourism-related events in the Caribbean and internationally.


st martin Remarks on the CTO State of the Industry Conference

“Much has been written about the effects of the recent economic downturn on the global tourism industry. The fortunes of the Caribbean have been under great competitive pressure; and our tourism professionals have been challenged to seek more and more innovative ways to attract visitors and enhance revenue.

Just recently we realized that even though the Caribbean as a whole is running at about a 6% increase in tourism arrivals over last year, the actual revenue from tourism continues to lag behind previous years.

Across the region our industry is still under considerable pressure and our accommodations sector, attractions and ancillary services are struggling to get their rates back to where they ought to be.

So in many cases the recession may have gone, but the profits are not yet back.

Therefore, together -public and private sector- large and small, we must find ways of combining our strengths and using our resources to the smartest advantage.

Among other strategies, we must create events that allow us to come together in a single space to share best practices, to learn from each other, to implement programs that will excite consumers, and to develop solutions that will place our industry on a path of sustainable growth.

Often you have heard the CTO refer to our region as one sea, one voice, one Caribbean. Yet each of us is unique. You’ve heard us speak proudly of the quality and the diversity of the product which we have the honor to represent; and we constantly promote the fact that visitors to the Caribbean can sample a variety of languages, cultures, history, cuisine and vacation experiences, all within easy reach.

Well, nowhere is that statement more meaningful and more evident than right here in Sint Maarten/St. Martin. It seems as if our boldest promises of diversity, excitement and fine hospitality, are delivered right here, on this beautiful island, every day.

So let’s the Caribbean’s tourism industry leaders-and the world-to come and sample it!

On behalf of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Caribbean Tourism Organization the Hon. Ricky Skerritt, the Management, Staff and the entire CTO family, it is an honor for me be part of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s inaugural State of the Industry Conference held in St. Martin, September 14-17, 2011.

This represents an extremely proud moment in the history of the CTO.

Having the state of the Industry conference here in St. Martin will allow us to demonstrate to the world -via the regional and international press, traditional media and social media- what collaboration and creativity can produce. It will give the residents of this island a chance to realize just how much the rest of us admire you for what you have achieved here.

It will also allow us to create a forum for some of our industry’s sharpest minds to analyze the factors that have influenced the state of our industry up to this point, and to take an informed peek into the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very special occasion for the Caribbean Tourism Organization; and I am honored that it is held here in Saint-Martin.

I thank you”