Cuba's popularity concerns Caribbean tourism officials, prompts them to seek US help

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Caribbean tourism officials are pushing for a partnership with the U.S. government because of concerns that warming relations between the U.S. and Cuba will result in a significant loss of visitors to the rest of the region.

The CEO of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association says Cuba has seen such a surge in visitors that the fragile budgets of many tourism-dependent islands will be hit hard if they don’t take action.

Frank Comito said Wednesday that the association seeks to create a Caribbean Basin Tourism Initiative to help boost investment and travel across the region with help from the U.S. government. The plan would be modeled off the Caribbean Basin Initiative, a U.S.-led program in the 1980s that sought to boost trade in the Caribbean and Central America.