The business of weddings in the Caribbean is an important and profitable one, and I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Governments of the Caribbean who focus on this niche market to protect the citizens and their industry.
There are some destinations that are exempt from this as they are part of the US territory, so little if anything can be done.
Too many times, Governments ‘allow’ visitors to compete with their citizens for these jobs: it could be a wedding planner, photographer or any other ‘expert’ from stateside, who knows the territory well enough that they can bypass the laws. Obviously, some do come under the guise as guests. Each destination must enforce its work permit laws – as Caribbean Nationals would not be given the opportunity to work in other countries without the benefit of work permits. Most times, they cannot even get into the country.
Other travel service providers have an interest in bringing their guests to get married in the region, and of course the only benefit to the destination would be the paltry sum paid to the Officiant. The photographer, catering, restaurant, local wedding planner, and all who work in the industry are completely left out of the equation. It should be mandatory if it is not already, that a local Service Provider becomes the ‘lead’ on this event.
Then there is the fallacy of inviting Wedding Planners at a cost to the destination for the various symposiums or fact finding missions as they will send their valued clients to get married in the destination. From experience, no one is about to hand over their business to someone else, much less send their revenue stream to a destination where they have no control. This is far and few between. You want to increase the number of weddings into your region, you need to have a strong marketing/pr program which should include travel agents.
Caribbean destinations need to make sure their Service Providers for this industry are ‘on top of their game’ and that they are included in all of their wedding/honeymoon marketing promotion
You’ve got the best, say so! Do not allow competitors to denigrate your skilled and valuable
service providers. If you feel they are not up to the task, bring in qualified trainers to kick start the industry. And why is this important to me? As one who hails from the region, it is my pet peeve.