Black Meetings and Tourism

July/Aug 2011

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 48 of 64

MEETING, INCENTIVES AND TRAVEL IN THE CARIBBEAN As BY DAVID GORDON a film buff, it’s safe to say I watch dozens of films in any given year from new releases to old classics — a habit picked up frommy father. In addition to great storytelling, I’ve found myself drawn to movies with majestic imagery of the outdoors, especially tropical set- tings such as the Caribbean. Maybe that’s because I spent part of my child- hood in Florida. On my 25 minute bus ride to school each morning I often caught myself in some sort of catatonic state mesmerized by the white sandy beaches and beautiful blue green waters of the Gulf of Mexico — it looked so peaceful, especially compared to the chaotic scene inside the bus of 40 pre- teenage kids screaming at the top of their lungs to be heard in conversation. Last year watchingTyler Perry’s,Why Did IGetMarried 2, I imagined that was mewalking out of the ocean front condo on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera— minus of course the dysfunctional mar- riage. But one of my favorite scenes of all time is the final scene in the movie Shawshank Redemption. It’s the scene whereMorgan Freeman’s characterRed 48 is walking along a beautiful unspoiled beach tomeet his friendAndy,played by Tim Robbins. The storyline would have you believe that was Mexico, but it was really on St Croix’s Sandy Point in the U.S.Virgin Islands. As themovie winds to a close I found myself transported back to the days of my childhood and my first trip to the Caribbean in my early twenties. All I could seewere beautiful beaches, resorts, people, food, music and cultural experi- ences that left me longing for my next trip to the Caribbean, which if I had my way would be about an hour fromnow. Images of the Caribbean shouldn’t be experienced vicariously through amovie projector—that’s cheating and nowhere near as stimulating or fun. From the Bahamas to Trinidad and Tobago and everything in between paradise is just a few hours away. Lets start by looking at three of the top destinations in the Caribbean — Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the United StatesVirgin Islands (USVI). Trinidad and Tobago is actually two islands (one nation) just seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. The capital and largest city on the island of Trinidad is Port-of-Spain. Pigeon Point Heritage Park Flight time from Miami to Piarco International Airport just outside Port- of-Spain is three hours and 30 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to fly from New York City to Los Angeles or Las Vegas. This is a full-service international facility easily accessible from the U.S. mainland, SouthAmerica and Europe. Port-of-Spain is a modern city with one huge advantage — it’s location in paradise. This city has transformed itself into a topmeeting and convention desti- nation with the opening of the 428-room Hyatt Regency along the brand new International Waterfront and features the largest conference center in the Southern Caribbean. There are over 1,600 hotel rooms in Trinidad. In addition to the Hyatt Regency you’ll recognize the interna- tional brand names such as Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, The Cascadia Hotel & Conference Centre and the Crowne Plaza Hotel. All three havemeeting facilities. In just the last four years Port-of- Spain has hosted some rather impressive gatherings. In 2008, it was the 12th Annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference and the 15th Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Black Meetings & Tourism July/August 2011: Photo Credit: Trinidad & Tobago Board of Tourism

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Black Meetings and Tourism - July/Aug 2011