Barbados to host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace
Buyers and sellers enagage in consultation during the Caribbean Travel Marketplace exhibition held in Puerto Rico last October.

Barbados has been selected as the host country for the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's (CHTA) flagship Caribbean Travel Marketplace event.

Now in its 41st edition, the event will take place May 9 – 11 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown and is expected to build on the success of 40th staging, held in Puerto Rico last October.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, when recently making the announcement, said that the influential and globally recognised trade event, which usually brings buyers and sellers of the region's tourism products and services together, is being staged in Barbados for the first time in the organisation's history.

"CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region's top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean," she stated.

"This year's marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel," she also said.

Returning to in-person format for the first time since the novel coronavirus pandemic outbreak in October last year, the 40th edition of Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which was held at the Puerto Rico Convention Centre, is said to have reaped phenomenal success, welcoming nearly 800 delegates including travel agents along with over 53 new buyer companies across 25 countries. Some of the first-time buyers, included representatives from India, Poland and Latvia.

Barbados' Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ian Gooding-Edghill, in welcoming the event to local soil, said that the "timing could not be better", especially now when Barbados' tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment.

"We are honoured to host such a pre-eminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world," the minister said, noting also that the meeting aligns well with Barbados' value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

As a highlight of last year's staging when it made its debut, the Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards will also return in Barbados and is scheduled to take place on May 9, 2023, a day before the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace. This year's forum will once again focus on the business of tourism and business appointments will be done across May 10 – 11.

Last year, over 150 delegates including ministers of tourism and key private sector leaders engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum.

"Our private sector partners, together with the BTMI and the Ministry of Tourism and Transport, are keen to showcase Barbados' exceptional product and experiences and we cannot wait to welcome you to our island home," commented Renee Coppin, chairman of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association.

"This event promises to bring significant, immediate benefits to Barbados. The most obvious is that it will be taking place at the start of our traditionally slower summer season bringing thousands of room nights and the associated taxes that we would not have otherwise realised," she added.

Barbados' Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ian Gooding-Edghill, in welcoming the event to local soil, said that the timing could not have been better.

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