Advertising campaign promoting Caribbean for US networks

A multi-million dollar television campaign promoting the Caribbean as a single tourist destination, will hit United States television networks market in another few weeks, as the region implements strategies to recover from the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11 last year.

The new marketing plan was announced last weekend by officials of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), at a press conference in New York City.

The announcement followed three days of talks on the future of Caribbean tourism by regional officials attending a series of events in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the CTO.

Director of marketing for the Americas at the CTO, Hugh Riley, told the New York press corps that the television advertisements would begin airing on July 29 and run until the end of October this year. The advertisements will be shown on cable television throughout the United States, utilising 2,000 spots initially. The theme of the campaign is: 'Life Needs the Caribbean.'

"The theme evolves out of a very creative approach. It takes the hustle and bustle, and sometimes the hum-drum of urban life and juxtaposes it against the serenity, calm and relaxation of life in the Caribbean," Riley said.

He said the campaign would cost US$16 million, and that US$3.9 million has already been secured for the first phase and part of the second phase. Riley expressed optimism that CTO member countries would come through with the rest of the funds. "They are committed to the programme," he said.

The new marketing campaign for the entire Caribbean was one of the decisions taken at the emergency meeting of Caribbean Community (Caricom) heads of governments in Nassau, Bahamas in the wake of the September 11 tragedy.

It is a joint public/private sector initiative and is being administered by a trust. The television campaign is in addition to other on-going promotional programmes.

Secretary-general of the CTO, Jean Holder, said the mandate given to the organisation by the regional leaders was that the campaign would also be taken to the United Kingdom.

The European market, he said, has shown a steep decline and all efforts would be made to, once again, woo business out of that area. To this end, the CTO has strengthened its promotional activities in Europe and was expanding its operations with a new chapter in Sweden. The Canadian market is also being heavily targeted with a series of trade shows and special packages.

The CTO is the region's tourism development agency, and is comprised of several private sector companies and 32 member governments from the English, French, Spanish and Dutch speaking Caribbean. It is headquartered in Barbados with marketing operations in New York, Toronto, London and other parts of Europe.

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