CTO’s SOTIC Conference to Examine Key Indicators Impacting Caribbean Travel

12 August 2016 9:03pm
CTO’s SOTIC Conference to Examine Key Indicators Impacting Caribbean Travel

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has developed a comprehensive program for its annual State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region, which will explore a range of subjects including how to transition the product, multicultural and emerging markets, creating a luxury experience and the sharing economy.

SOTIC is scheduled Sept. 14 - 16, 2016 at the Hilton Barbados Resort. Themed Honoring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future, SOTIC brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students and media. It is preceded by CTO business gatherings including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

General sessions start at 10:15 a.m. on Sept. 15 following the keynote address by Adam Stewart, chief executive officer of Sandals Resorts International, and take place throughout the day and Sept. 16.

Panels include: Delivering the Luxury Experience - As wealth expands globally and middle classes emerge in populous countries, the demand for luxury travel will fuel the growth of this market highlighted by more meaningful, authentic, personalized and exclusive travel experiences.

The session examines how Caribbean destinations can re-craft their value propositions in order to deliver a luxury experience that meets the demand and translates into revenue growth for the suppliers. Capturing the Multi-Cultural and Emerging Markets - Multicultural tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel and tourism industry - estimated to be over a US$90 billion market.

Established groups within this segment continue to grow, while new ones are fast emerging. This session is designed to give attendees insight into how to gain a share of these multicultural markets.

Panelists will examine travel and spending patterns including "likes," "dislikes" and expectations, and how best to reach and retain these unfamiliar market segments. Is Tourism Entering a New and Difficult Age? - Various safety and security threats such as crime, natural disasters, health crises and global terrorism all have the ability to stifle the growth potential of Caribbean tourism.

This session looks at practical strategies and concrete examples of how tourism stakeholders, working together with other government agencies, the media and independent businesses can plan and respond collaboratively at the national and regional levels to counteract or reduce such threats.

No Place for the Status Quo - The dynamic nature of travel and tourism, coupled with changing demographics and attitudes, force the industry into a perpetual state of transition. In this session, tourism leaders discuss piloting an industry through a state of flux, utilizing alliances, diversifying source markets, and developing techniques to maintain the industry's prominence as a leading revenue earner and employment generator.

The Sharing Economy: Opportunity or Threat? - There are aggressive players in the travel and tourism business and part of what is commonly called The Sharing Economy or the Consumer, Peer-to-Peer Rental Market. Overall business is currently valued at US$26 billion, and these players are already operating in the Caribbean and their numbers are estimated to experience rapid growth.

Panelists will examine this hybrid market model and discuss the challenges, risks and opportunities for the Caribbean tourism sector. Creating Value Through Outstanding Visitor Experiences - The destination experience begins for a potential visitor long before the moment of touchdown.

From a dynamic website, desirable accommodations, fascinating attractions, state-of-the-art airports and the services of travel agent specialists, this session will look at ways of enhancing the experiences of travelers to the Caribbean and positively impacting the bottom line. Caribbean Tourism Youth Congress - National "Junior Ministers of Tourism" comprising students between the ages of 14-17, research various facets of the tourism sector and share their vision for the future direction of regional tourism.

Delegates should expect a thought-provoking and spirited exchange of views among our future leaders of the region as these young debaters vie for important prizes and the chance to be a youth ambassador for tourism. In addition to the general sessions, SOTIC will feature two workshops offered concurrently on Sept. 15 at 3:45 - 5:15 p.m.

The workshops are as follows: Buckle Up: This Could Be Bumpy - Providing adequate intra-regional service has always been a challenge for the region. The issues are many but the answers appear to be few. This workshop will investigate how the Caribbean can "get it right."

Picture It: Will You Be Here In Five Years? - To position a tourism destination, hotel or attraction in a way that is desirable, profitable and sustainable requires specific steps. This workshop will provide practical, straightforward answers to creating and achieving a vision for success.

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