The Caribbean is challenged to remain competitive in a dynamic global tourism arena. Tourism education plays a critical role in preparing individuals to effectively manage this industry in order to gain that competitive edge. The focus of this study is the determination of the essential management competencies of tourism graduates. The findings reveal that the focus of the tourism programme should be on producing graduates that are flexible, ethical and knowledgeable. The onus is on tourism educators to establish close collaboration among key stakeholders to ensure that there is understanding as to what is of critical importance in preparing future Caribbean leaders.