September 2014

Suriname's Maroon Community To Boost Tourism

Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) is perhaps one of the last untamed places in South America - a land of winding rivers, dense swamps along the coast and virtually unexplored rain forest covering 85 percent of the country. The Dutch explorers who first settled here called it "de Wilde Kust" or "The Wild Coast".

The magical Upper Suriname River Region gives the inquisitive traveler a chance to explore a region undisturbed by modern-day tourism; and is home to about 15,000 Maroons, descendants of runaway slaves that fled into the forests during the 17th century. Because of their isolated habitat they have retained much of their original African life style. This, plus their easy rapprochement and the overwhelming nature, makes it a fascinating destination for tourists. 

To this end, The Association of Upper Suriname Lodge Holders (LBS) cluster willl be utilising its USD500,000 Compete Caribbean grant to create a high quality community tourism experience that is centred on the unique Maroon culture by further developing its internal capacity, market orientation, competitive pricing and market focus which will enable the enhanced penetration of high-yield, cultural and nature tourism market segments in targeted export markets.

The Upper Suriname River area currently attracts approximately 9,250 tourists annually, with international tourists accounting for about 6,250 or 68% of visitors. Fifty per cent are estimated to be from the Netherlands, underscoring that particular market's importance. It is further suggested that the total combined tourism-related revenue generated in this region has reached around USD3,198M annually and it is projected that 75% of this is from international tourism.

The Compete Caribbean intervention is expected to yield the following results:
  • Suriname Tourism cluster strengthened
  • Lodges better able to meet international tourism quality standards and market demands
  • Increased market visibility and interest in Suriname and the Upper Suriname River Region

Access the most recent Knowledge Products by Compete Caribbean


ICT and Tourism

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adoption has been stimulating vast changes in tourism value chains and in the way we consume tourism products and services. In the last few years, major tourism innovations have been driven by the adoption of new technologies, especially ICT-based innovations. One of the major challenges nowadays is how to use technology in order to make sense out of the data, in real time, so that new services and knowledge can be generated. This also requires new analytic capacities. This phenomenon is known as BIG DATA. Learn More 


CARIFORUM Eco-Tourism Industry Value Chain Analysis

This project sought to identify challenges to the growth of the ecotourism industry in four CARIFORUM countries: The Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, via the use of a value chain methodology; and to develop recommendations to overcome these challenges. Learn More  


Human Imagination, Innovation and Competitiveness in the Caribbean

This paper aims to identify the potential gains for the Caribbean region of investing in a competitiveness and innovation strategy that takes into account the "human imagination" and how it relates to business growth and economic and trade diversification. Learn More 


Clusters in the Caribbean: Understanding Their Characteristics, Defining Policies for Their Development

The aim of this report is to map Caribbean cluster cases and identify their specific characteristics, based on the existing literature and on the available empirical evidence. An empirical exercise is undertaken through a study of 32 cases of clusters distributed in a variety of industries across the Caribbean, such as natural resources based industries, comprising agriculture, agro-processing, forestry, aquaculture and energy; manufacturing; and services, embracing tourism, creative industries and business services. Learn More  


Caribbean Diasporic Entrepreneurship Preliminary Analytical Report 

The Caribbean region, like many other small and developing country regions, has been negatively impacted by the global economic and financial crisis in terms of declining export markets and foreign exchange earnings particularly in traditional sectors like agricultural and resource-based industries as well as services sectors like tourism and financial services. The Caribbean region has also seen a decline in its global competitiveness and the issues of innovation and entrepreneurship have been raised as key considerations to improve the region's economic and trade performance. In this context, many countries have begun to explore alternative sources of growth among which includes the economic impact of the diasporic economy. Learn More 


Productive Development in Suriname and Bahamas 

In the last years, Suriname has achieved substantial progress on the macroeconomic performance due to both domestic policies and the external environment, and although economic prospects for the medium term are positive, it faces the challenge of diversifying the productive and export profiles dominated to a very large degree by mining to reduce its vulnerability to external shocks. As a consequence, there is a growing interest in vertical policies that concentrate government efforts in selected non-traditional sectors. This study reviews the PDPs applied in Suriname and focuses the analysis on the PDPs affecting a targeted group of two promising economic activities. The study also reviews the industrial policy approach applied in The Bahamas and focuses the analysis on those PDPs affecting a targeted group of two economic activities - tourism and agricultural sector - both related to the goal of diversifying the economy. Learn More 

Understanding the Terms of Engagement and Protocols for
Successful Implementation of Innovation Window Projects

Compete Caribbean sponsored a one day workshop in July for firms successful in securing Technical Assistance under the Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (EICF).  


The workshop was divided into four sessions where staff and consultants delivered presentations on specific topics with which firms need to be familiar to successfully execute funded projects. These sessions were followed by a spirited question and answer segment plus one-on-one consultations with procurement specialists.


The interesting and interactive workshop was heralded a major achievement for the Program by satisfied participants who all agreed that they had obtained a clear grasp on Compete's reporting requirements and how to make the project management and disbursement processes straightforward and efficient.


Additionally, they believed they had also gained a thorough understanding of the expectations and contributions of their firms as it pertained to the management of the projects, as well as a better understanding of the roles and functions of the Program's  implementation and support team. Participants also networked amongst themselves and developed meaningful relationships at the workshop.  


Eight regional firms and 16 participants attended the inaugural workshop which is expected to be repeated to a fresh set of participants later this year.  

Compete Caribbean and Antigua & Barbuda

Investment Authority (ABIA) Call on Minister 


(Left to Right) Mrs. Sherelyn Hughes-Thomas , Economic Development and Planning Director, ABIA; Mr. Michiel van der Veur, Consultant Van der Veur Advice; Ms. Sascha Mercer, Marketing & Business Development Director, ABIA; Hon. Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy; Dr. Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director, Compete Caribbean; Mr. Alejandro Carrion Menendez, OECS Coordinator, Compete Caribbean

Minister of Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy in Antigua & Barbuda, Hon. Minister Asot Michael,  recently met with representatives of the Compete Caribbean Program and the ABIA to discuss the next phase of ongoing projects that are co-funded and facilitated by Compete Caribbean.


The Government has received financing from Compete Caribbean to strengthen investment attraction in the Diversified Tourism and Information Technology-Enabled Services/Business Process Outsourcing (ITeS/BPO) sectors. Program funding also facilitated the design of a one-stop-shop window for business registration to attract and enable domestic/foreign investment.


Minister Michael reiterated that he is fully on board and committed to the technical and intrinsic support provided by Compete Caribbean that has a combined value of ECD1,115,684.


Prime Minister and Minister of Finance & Corporate Government, The Hon. Gaston Browne has previously expressed his support stating that these projects are in keeping with the mandate of rebuilding Antigua and Barbuda through foreign direct investment attraction and job creation.



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