OECS Commission, Castries, Saint Lucia, January 11th 2015 – OECS Member States have, for many years,  depended on the tourism sector for economic growth. Over time, this sector has become highly segmented and benefits are derived from land-based as well as marine-based  tourism.
More recently, the region has become intensely focused on growing the yachting sector and as a consequence, marketing the destinations as many islands one Caribbean  is a priority for governments.
The 57th Toronto Boat Show has presented a unique opportunity for OECS Member States to be present as a collective in one yachting space within the ambiance of an  “Eastern Caribbean Village” manned by over twenty (20) people  from the region’s public and private yachting sectors. This Eastern Caribbean Village effect will bring to the fore the uniqueness of respective destinations, the services and attractions relevant to the yachting sector in the region, and, through the inclusion of Sail Clear, information related to ease of travel for yachts people.
n the words of the member state representatives:
Hazel Penn, Sales Manager BVI Tourist Board says of the BVI,  “the British Virgin Islands (BVI) consist of 60+ islands and cays, and is the ideal sailing destination. Known as the Sailing Capital of the World, the close proximity of the islands makes for easy line-of-sight navigation. Ideal wind and weather conditions year-around, countless scenic anchorages and the availability of crewed and bare boats for charter, the BVI is a haven for both novice and seasoned sailors, wishing to sail or learn to sail in these calm waters.  Having all of these attributes gives the destination an advantage to promote and to continue to raise awareness of the BVI as a premier sailing destination among the sailing enthusiasts at the 2015 Toronto International Boat Show. “
Shelley John Director of Sales – Canada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Office, says that she is at the Toronto Boat Show, “to promote St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ pristine sailing waters as an irresistible option to both new and repeat visitors.”
James Pascall – Horizon Yacht Charters Grenada says, “we are attending the Toronto Boat Show as it is a significant opportunity to gain exposure in a key market location where we currently have very limited penetration”. He hopes to accomplish significant leads and sales.
Shamma Phillippe-Harris, Marketing Manager, Special Markets, at the Saint Lucia Tourist Board says she is here “To promote Saint Lucia as an ideal yachting haven in the southern Caribbean to North American visitors and to seek business opportunities for the sustainable growth of the sector.”
Tameka Wharton, Sales and Marketing Manager – Canadian RegionAntigua and Barbuda  says, “The Toronto Boat Show allows Antigua and Barbuda to showcase its position as a quintessential mariner’s haven.  We are also here to explore new business opportunities and engage our repeat visitors to ensure that the destination remains as a “must visit” location, if not just for relaxation in our trade-winds, to be a part or our competitive annual Marine Calender of Events – Antigua Sailing Week, Super Yacht Challenge, Sports Fishing and the list goes on. The beach is just the beginning…”
Hubert J. Winston, President of the Dominica Marine Association and owner of the Dominica Yacht Services and Dominica Marine Center says, “Dominica’s presence at the Toronto International Boat Show 2015 is to highlight the country as the new and all-round exclusive yachting destination in the Caribbean. Dominica is on the high stage showcasing itself as the must visit-and-explore destination on all new itineraries for Canadians and the World at large.”
The OECS has opted to participate in The Toronto International Boat Show as a grouping, to help grow the region’s yachting sector given that this event is deemed to be North America’s largest indoor boat show, the preeminent selling venue for Canada’s recreational boating industry, and the premiere showcase for new 2015 products. It is also reported to be patronized by increasing numbers of high end visitors. Last year’s show, which spanned over 9 days, recorded over 93,000 visitors. Canada is also seen as a major tourism market for the Caribbean region.
The joint presence of the OECS at the Toronto International Boat Show is supported by funding under the 10th European Development (EDF) programme.
The 57th Toronto International Boat Show is open until the 18th of January 2015.