CHTA's Caribbean Travel Marketplace to Introduce New Features in Jamaica

Caribbean News…
21 March 2024 11:33pm

The 42nd edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace, scheduled to take place at the Montego Bay Convention Center from May 20 to 23, 2024, will feature new additions and three dedicated runways, promising an even more dynamic and attractive experience for attendees.

During a recent "Caribbean Fireworks" press conference in Kingston, CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig stated, "This year, we will take the event to a new level with three distinct themes: The Business of Tourism, in the form of Caribbean Travel Forum; Tourism Marketing, CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace; and the Tourism Community, with our first Responsible Tourism Day."

Caribbean Travel Marketplace will commence with the Caribbean Travel Forum on May 20, focusing on "Envisioning a New Tourism Landscape for the Caribbean." The forum will include an awards luncheon to honor the Caribbean Hotelier of the Year, present the Destination Resilience honors, and award the President's Award for Excellence in Caribbean Tourism.

Responsible Tourism Day, coinciding with Jamaica Labor Day on May 23, will emphasize addressing climate change, sustainable development, and agricultural linkages to underscore responsible management of tourism communities.

Madden-Greig highlighted the introduction of a dedicated Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) itinerary for the first time, with 20 meeting planners attending the inaugural Caribbean MICE Exchange. He emphasized the significant potential of the MICE market, which generated more than $900 billion globally in 2023 and is projected to double by 2032. "It is time for the Caribbean to focus on obtaining a larger share of that pie," he said.

The event will also host 50 regional and international media representatives, some of whom will participate in the first multi-destination media familiarization trip to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands, aiming to showcase the rich cultural diversity of these nations and promote multi-destination travel within the Caribbean.

Madden-Greig reported that 150 buying companies, with significant interest from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, are expected to attend the Marketplace. To date, 86 buying companies have registered, more than doubling the number from last year's event at this stage. Among them, 14 new companies have registered from countries such as Estonia, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA), Robin Russell, expressed that the Marketplace presents excellent opportunities and access for hoteliers and tourism providers. "You can interact with the top of the food chain in all aspects of the business, from tour operators to travel agents... everyone who wants to do business comes to Marketplace," he said. He added that for small businesses, "it's probably the only opportunity they'll have unless they spend a lot of money to interact with these people."

"(Caribbean Travel Marketplace) is not merely an event but a significant opportunity for us as Caribbean people, not only to showcase the strength and power of our assets but also to provide leadership with innovation," said Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, who thanked the CHTA for selecting Jamaica to host this vital meeting of tourism stakeholders.

Reflecting on the Caribbean's performance in 2023, Madden-Greig noted a three percent growth over 2019, according to ForwardKeys data. She emphasized the importance of continuing to drive growth, especially with more than 59,000 new hotel rooms planned or in progress across the region, according to STR. "We cannot rest on our laurels as even more impressive growth potential is possible, and events like CHTA Marketplace must continue to deliver results for our region," she said.

Nearly 1,000 delegates are expected to attend the Marketplace, and approximately 150 supplier companies from various Caribbean destinations are already prepared to participate. Representatives from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint-Martin, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and the US Virgin Islands have been recorded to date.

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