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In response to negative comments made by an Australian journalist carried in publications worldwide about services in the Caribbean in the context of hosting the Cricket World Cup, Dehring said: "The Caribbean continues to be a destination of choice for tourists from many parts of the world, and specifically cricket fans who continue to return in their thousands every year to enjoy our hospitality; however we regret that Mr. Marshallsea had such a bad experience and I know that the leadership of the tourism industry are continuously focused on raising the bar on service with the potential benefits of the Cricket World Cup providing a major incentive to this effort."
"Hopefully the region now recognises that hosting the Cricket World Cup will put every aspect of the Caribbean - our infrastructure, our services and even our people - under the glare and scrutiny of the international media throughout the next four years like never before in our history. This is a good thing as it will focus all of our minds on what needs to be accomplished."
"I therefore greatly appreciate the CTO affording me the opportunity of meeting with their board and the Ministers of Tourism in the region so that we can address the challenges well ahead of the 2007 World Cup," the former Chief Marketing Executive of the WICB added.
The CTO board meeting in New York brings together all the senior decision- makers of the tourism industry in the Caribbean including Ministers of Tourism of all Caribbean countries, hoteliers, airline industry officials, cruise shipping representatives and major tour operators.
The West Indies who will host the Cricket World Cup, the third largest sporting event in the world in 2007, recently attracted over 6 000 Australian fans during the Cable & Wireless Series - the biggest ever to travel to the Caribbean.
Previous tours by the England cricket team have attracted over 15 000 English tourists to the region which is projected to be surpassed next year when England are scheduled to tour again as cricket remains the jewel in the Caribbean crown of sports event tourism. (WICB)