CTO chairman Dominic Fedee (left) and interim secretary general Neil Walters.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) today announced it will not conduct its largest annual gathering, the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), in 2019.

“This year the CTO will not hold [SOTIC] while we review the event,” said officials in a statement. The announcement follows the June retirement of Hugh Riley as CTO’s CEO and secretary general after nearly 10 years in the post. The organization is currently conducting a search for the organization’s next leader.

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“SOTIC will return in 2020 with a restructured, refocused program based on input from across the CTO membership,” the statement reads. While the SOTIC event for 2019 has been canceled, CTO will hold a members-only sector outlook forum in Antigua & Barbuda which will target the key decision and policymakers in the CTO member governments” in October, said Neil Walters, CTO’s acting secretary general.

“At the forum members will have a chance to discuss the key issues affecting the tourism industry with our cruise, airline and hotel partners,” said Walters.

The four-hour program will “facilitate the sharing of information about growth and development plans for the Caribbean market by these international leaders in tourism,” CTO officials added.

While CTO has halted SOTIC for this year the organization will host the Sustainable Tourism Conference in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from August 26 to 29, in partnership with the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority. The gathering will feature discussion regarding “critical issues, including climate change, digitization and disruption.”

The theme of last year’s SOTIC event was.” Last year’s SOTIC event, themed “Rejuvenate, Recreate, Reconnect” was held in the Bahamas in early October, bringing together “industry professionals, policymakers and strategic partners from the public and private sectors of the Caribbean for a week of events, discussion and ideation surrounding the key issues and opportunities for enhancing tourism around the region.”