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Success of regional B to B event boosts outlook for Caribbean holidays

  • 07-Feb-12 10:04
  • Bahamas
  • Caribbean News Digital

Insiders have hailed the 30th Caribbean Marketplace, held recently in the Bahamas, as a success with a record attendance. The business to business event is aimed at boosting the profile of Caribbean holidays on both a regional and international stage.

Success of regional B to B event boosts outlook for Caribbean holidays

The Bahamas recently hosted the 30th edition of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) Marketplace; arguably the single most import marketing event for the Caribbean hotels and resorts industry along with other key stakeholders in the tourism sector. Held between 22nd and 24th January 2012, the event brought regional and international buyers, suppliers and marketing companies together with the common aim of boosting the profile of Caribbean holidays in 2012.

The event has been heralded as a success with 142 buyer companies having attended the fair, including 11 Russian companies and resulting in a 7 per cent growth when compared to the 2011 edition. A year on year analysis of buyer delegates was also encouraging with 344 delegates this year versus 314 in 2011.

“We have just over 12,000 delegates, a figure which is on par with last year but most importantly we have 142 buyer companies from 15 countries represented by 366 appointment taking delegates. The more we can broaden the visitor experience, not just stay in a hotel, but that total visitor experience, there are obviously spin off benefits for the visitor and the destination, in terms of visitor spend” noted Alec Sanguinetti, Director General of the CHTA.

 Caribbean Beach
Image by: *michael sweet*, on Flickr

The CHTA has noted that a joint regional effort underpinned the success of this year’s event with Tourism ministers from key Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) member countries attending this edition of the Caribbean Marketplace, including the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, “It was good to have the ministers from the public sector supporting the private sector as we as a region stand united in our efforts to remain the leading warm weather destination in the Western hemisphere,” noted Josef Forstmayr, president of CHTA.

While the allure of the exotic Caribbean beaches have always made Caribbean holidays popular worldwide, the region is faced with steady competition for market share from other North American and European destinations. The CTO noted a four per cent growth in ‘stop-over’ arrivals in 2011 with 24 million arrivals, up from 23.1 million in 2010. Despite this growth, industry insiders across the Caribbean agree that there are challenges that the region will face in 2012. One of these challenges includes the high cost of flights to Caribbean destinations as a result of the increase in Air Passenger Duty tax (imposed by the UK government) which has been seen as the driving force behind the recently reported loss of 300 000 UK holidaymakers to the shores of the English-speaking Caribbean islands in 2011.

 Bahamas Beach
Image by: firefly242, on Flickr

In order to lift the profile of the Caribbean as a leading holiday destination the CHTA has outlined a number of initiatives planned for 2012 which include, redesigning, the official website for giving information and guidance on planning holidays in the Caribbean, along with publishing a commemorative book to mark the 50th birthday of the CHTA. Industry insiders appear to be optimistic that the “substantial number of transactions” made at the 2012 Marketplace coupled with the industry’s continued drive to reinvent and market itself will help to alleviate any concerns surrounding the Caribbean tourism sector.

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