As more Caribbean nationals turn to the region’s tourism industry for careers of their first choice, a 50-year travel industry veteran believes they are on the right path. In a recent interview in the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo, Rick Sasso, Chair of MSC Cruises USA, opined that cruise tourism offers myriad opportunities for young people looking for long and gratifying careers.

“There is no doubt that we are a unique industry,” said Sasso, who described cruise tourism as complex and comprehensive, explaining that opportunities abound in areas ranging from housekeeping and photography to marine activities and food service.

“It’s not just cruising … some of the technology that our industry has created has been incredible. And I think that anyone who wants to get into our industry, there are so many areas of expertise within this category ... there’s a lot of opportunity for the young lot,” asserted Sasso, whose company is the fastest growing cruise line in the industry.

Sasso, the author of “UnselfishWorld” – a book based on his philosophy of encouraging oneself and others to be the most unselfish individuals one can be – believes the future of regional tourism is “as bright as it’s ever been because there’s so much more attention now to the marquee value of the Caribbean.”

He reasoned that a lot of Caribbean destinations are now known and in demand worldwide, and stakeholders ought to look to the future with a great deal of anticipation, but with a focus on innovation. “Because you have to keep up. You cannot just sit back and think ‘things are okay, we’re doing okay’. It doesn’t matter … if it’s not broken, you need to even make it better,” said Sasso, who believes if this is done, “the sky is the limit.”

Sasso showered praise on the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the acronym for which he describes as Friendship, Cooperation, Communication and Advancement: “Over the last 30 to 40 years, the FCCA has profoundly been able to get people together in a way where we could make the private and public sectors think alike … and the cruise lines adapt. (Advancement) is the A in FCCA and it works.”