The members of the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry are flocking to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the 26th edition of Caribbean Marketplace 2006, which kicked off Sunday, January 15, through Tuesday, January 17th, at the newly-inaugurated Puerto Rico Convention Center. The event is presented by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and American Express, with the support of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
Some 900 private and public sector tourism representatives from 36 Caribbean destinations – from Anguilla to the United States Virgin Islands – will spend two days of pre-scheduled business appointments, discussing existing contracts, developing packages, and contracting for future business with buyers from around the world. “We are expecting a very positive Winter season for the region, with an overall growth of about 5% in tourist arrivals by air to the Caribbean,” said on the subject Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO of CHA.
Thirteen Caribbean delegations are headed by their respective national heads of tourism, who attend the event to strengthen ties and make new contacts with the international buyer marketplace. Their active involvement also signals an increased collaboration between the private and the public tourism sectors – and an improved understanding of the role of tourism in the regional economies and the wellbeing of the Caribbean people. “CHA and CTO will continue to work closer together in order to improve the promotion and marketing of the Caribbean region to its various markets,” added Sanguinetti.
To date, the ministers of the following Caribbean nations have confirmed their attendance, as guests of Ms. Terestella González-Denton, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turks & Caicos.
The Caribbean Marketplace 2006 Pre-Event Report shows just over 400 buyers registered – they are wholesalers, incentive buyers, meeting planners, group buyers and dive shop owners. These international buyers from around the world are invited to attend Caribbean Marketplace based on their proven capability or potential to sell the Caribbean as a destination. Caribbean Marketplace gives them a one-stop venue to meet face-to-face with a range of suppliers from across the region, representing the Caribbean’s intimate inns, guesthouses and villas, business, meetings and incentive products, time-sharing, all-inclusive and hotel chains from the whole Caribbean region.
At three days to the event, the three top markets with the largest buyer delegations are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Total registrations to date are on par with the final registration figures for Caribbean Marketplace 2005, which suggests that this year’s event is poised to surpass the previous edition, held in Montego Bay, Jamaica - and itself already considered a definite success by all accounts.
About the Caribbean Hotel Association
The Caribbean Hotel Association, www.caribbeanhotels.org
, is dedicated to excellence in hospitality, leadership in marketing, and sustainable growth in tourism, to the benefit of its membership and that of the wider Caribbean community. It aims to be a regional forum that will advance the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry. The members of CHA represent the entire spectrum of hospitality industry’s private sector, from 835 member hotels representing some 127,000 hotel rooms in 36 national hotel associations, to 520 allied members including airline executives, tour operators, travel agents, trade and consumer press, hotel and restaurant suppliers, and others.