Black Meetings and Tourism

July/Aug 2011

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D TO E H N ’ O T F UO TR IG V C L E X E E ETS M A L L E R H O T E L S , U R G E S C T O , N T A I N K P A R T N E R S H I P P A C T “Now is the time to strengthen the Jamaican and Caribbean hotel sector by going global and by building up mid-size properties,” declared an international hospi- tality executive. Speaking at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference, which was held during May in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Brian Parker of Choice Hotels International cheered the attention heaped on upscale hotels and all-inclusive resorts but urged “we have to enhance the industry’s resilience by ensuring more focused assistance be given to properties offering mid-scale lodging throughout Jamaica and the region.” Parker, vice president of Emerging Markets and New Business Development of Choice Hotels International, believes it is wise to strengthen the hotel industry by increased focus on promoting Caribbean properties directly to international travelers attracted to proven brands: “We want to work with the local hotel ownership community to determine if securing a global hotel brand/membership affiliation can enhance their hotels’ performance.” The majority of travelers now book accommodation though the Internet but he contended, “the multiplicity of choices on the Internet means people will be looking for trusted global hotel brands – so if you’re not associated with a global brand, you may be losing business.” The Choice Hotels executive noted “Jamaica is one of our top tar- get markets in the Caribbean,” and asserted “we are committed to hav- ing a multi-brand presence on the island in Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, and/or Kingston.” Parker affirmed the collaborative policy of Choice Hotels: “We are working with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, the Jamaica BRIAN PARKER Tourist Board and JAMPRO to enhance Jamaica’s overall tourism product by offering quality, premium and branded mid- scale lodging accommodations.” The hotel executive admitted that Choice Hotels, through its Ascend Collection membership program, also offers travelers upscale lodging options at historic, bou- 28 tique and unique hotels. “We are a versatile company and see ourselves as great partners in an equally dynamic and versatile Caribbean region.” For more information visit Travel Organizations Seek to BringMore Business and Members to Both Groups NTA and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) have created a partnership to promote opportunities to tourism businesses in the over 30 member countries of the CTO and give NTA tour operators easier access to Caribbean destinations. The CTO Chairman Senator Ricky Skerritt and Lisa Simon, president of NTA, signed the agreement at a news conference recently at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, home of the annual CTO event which celebrates Caribbean tourism and the rich heritage and culture of the region. “This match creates an impor- tant commercial opportunity for CTO members,” said Skerritt. “NTA is an international associa- tion focused on travel to, from and within North America, which fits perfectly with the product offerings of CTO members,” he said. “I expect that this part- nership agreement will cre- ate more North American tourism arrivals for the Caribbean” Through their new agreement,NTA and CTO will pro- mote each other’s organization, encourage their members to belong to both organizations and provide educational leadership at each other’s signature conferences. These include CTO’s annual conference and NTA’s two major North American events, Contact and Convention. Simon also welcomes the agreement between the two groups. “NTA tour operators are familiar with the fantas- tic Caribbean destinations, and the CTO recognizes the huge potential this represents for their members.This col- laboration simply makes it easier for both NTA and the CTO to bring new business opportunities to our mem- bers,” she said. “It’s wonderful to join forces officially, bring value to the industry overall and discover ways to connect our members.” Black Meetings & Tourism July/August 2011:

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