< Return to main news page
Caribbean Tourism Investment Fund Gathers Force
Fund would foster regional entrepreneurship
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (June 4, 2007) – A highlight of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment
Conference (CHTIC) held in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles last month, was the announcement by
Peter J. Odle, President of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), that CHA had engaged KPMG
and Caribbean Financial Services Corporation (CFSC) as advisors to a Tourism Investment Fund
(the Fund) that CHA is seeking to introduce to the market, to help fill a "financing gap" in the
regional tourism industry.
The financing gap is primarily defined as being limited access to third-party equity and
financing for owner-operators of resorts up to 150 rooms looking to expand, renovate, and/or
takeover underperforming assets. The Fund would support applications evidencing strong
management teams with a proven track record and a robust business plan.
Following CHTIC, the next stage in the development of the Fund is to appoint an
investment advisory board and to agree on a framework for the Fund. Both steps are expected
to be completed by the end of June 2007.
At a panel discussion during CHTIC, chaired by Peter Odle and featuring Gary Brough,
head of KPMG's regional hospitality group, and Milton Lawrence, Deputy Chairman of CFSC, Odle
stressed the importance to the regional hospitality industry of indigenous entrepreneurs
participating in its development.
Stressing that no region in the world is more dependent on tourism than the Caribbean,
Brough pointed out that such dependency is not likely to change at any time in the foreseeable
future. “If anything, the region will become more dependent on tourism as traditional industries,
such as sugar and bananas, decline,” he added. Accordingly, Brough suggested that if an
opportunity arises to improve the region's tourism industry, it should be taken.
CHA has identified one such opportunity with the introduction of the Fund. Brough added
that should the Fund be successful, it would mean more successful indigenous Caribbean
entrepreneurs - a very attractive feature of the engagement for KPMG. However, he warned that
a failed fund would benefit no-one and that its success or failure would be judged in the
marketplace as being dependent on whether or not the Fund achieved commercial rates of return
for its investors.
Emphasizing this point, Lawrence made it clear that the Fund would not make decisions
based on philanthropy, but would judge every application on its relative merits and taking an
entirely objective, commercial approach when reviewing applications. However, he pointed out
that through its involvement in the Fund, CFSC will extend to the industry the benefit of its close
working relationship with a network of technical support organizations, which may independently
help investees to mitigate some of the existing challenges in the sector.
The Caribbean Tourism Investment Fund generated a climate of confidence and
enthusiasm, with expressions of interest from participants in potentially investing in the Fund,
while others enquired about applying to the Fund for financing. “While the Fund is still in its
development stage, the response is very promising,” said CHA President Peter Odle, adding that
the ten years since the first CHTIC was held a decade earlier had been leading up to this
The event registered the largest number of delegates since its inception: Investors, hotel
owners, banks and lender, CEO’s and hotel chain executives, financial advisers, mortgage
brokers, real estate agents, lawyers, designers and architects, consultants, tourism officials,
timeshare developers, and government officials.
More than 400 delegates from 27 countries gathered over the course of two days at the
Curaçao World Trade Center on May 7 and 8th, to address the issues, challenges and
opportunities for improving the tourism investment climate across the region and opening up a
more generous flow of both equity and loan capital into the Caribbean. A look at the companies
present are evidence that the leading companies in the industry recognize the importance of the
event in shaping the Caribbean tourism industry.
The event was hosted by the Curaçao Tourist Board and the Curaçao Hospitality and
A number of presentations on the outlook of the Caribbean are available online, at
< Return to main news page
Press Release Archive
- 2012 -
- 2011 -
- 2010 -
- 2009 -
- 2008 -
- 2007 -