THE Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA) has reported that more than 800 delegates were in attendance at its Caribbean Travel Marketplace event held recently in Barbados, while lauding the 41st staging of the event a success.
The delegates, made up of representatives from across the globe including travel agents and a vast number of buyer countries, converged at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre earlier this month. Last year approximately 736 delegates were present at the event which allows for face-to-face meetings with stakeholders from all over the world, allowing them to sell their destinations and vacation packages.
CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who dubbed the event a success, labelled it an "exceptional" and "fantastic show".
"The feedback has been great and buyers enjoyed the diversity with booths spread across different rooms, giving the event a different feel this year," she said.
She further said that the Caribbean Travel Forum held at Sandals Royal Barbados, which preceded the official opening of marketplace, was also well received, delivering strong presentations focused on travel trends, technology and resilience. A thought-provoking keynote speech delivered by the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who energised participants, encouraged the region to diversify its offerings and not solely rely on traditional industries and business models.
"One of the many activities was the signing of an MOU with the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis and Management Centre, which will focus on joint activations around resilience in the region's tourism sector," she noted.
Pointing to existing pain points Madden-Greig lamented that while there was heightened demand for Caribbean travels, the long-standing issue of air connectivity remains a challenge for much of the region's destinations.
"Working with the intergovernmental Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) we will, however, continue to advocate for sufficient airlift coming into the region. This is important for the Caribbean to promote intra-regional and multi-destination visitation," she said, noting a number of other challenges for which it hopes to secure remedy this year.
"The climate crisis is high on the list of issues engaging the trade association, along with the impact of sargassum, epidemics, and other threats to the region's health," the president added, indicating that following the recent renewal of an MOU with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the association will be working to promote tourism health safety to enhance the region's health and security capacity.
Madden-Greig said that for the event's 42nd staging, expected to be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the association will be pushing to deliver a different show with the introduction of new elements.
"Our one goal will be to ensure that we maximise business for our members and the Caribbean," she stated.