Black Meetings and Tourism

Nov/Dec 2010

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Caribbean is pois- ed for a recovery from the impact of the economic do- wnturn and is preparing to receive a growing number of travelers in the com- ing months. Renewed interest in the region was evidenced by the near-record volume of buyer/supplier appointments at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) Caribbean Mark- etplace 2010, which was held during January in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Conducted by CHTA, together with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, Master Card and Virgin Holidays, Caribbean Marketplace took place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center. With the success of this year’s Marketplace, the upcoming 2011 offer- ing, scheduled for January 16-18 in Jamaica, promises to keep the momen- tum going. CHTA http://www.caribbeanhote- promotes the Carib- bean hotel and tourism industry by building partnerships in a socially responsible and sustainable manner. Founded in 1962, CHTA is the voice of the Caribbean hospitality industry with more than 725 member hotels and 525 alliedmembers. Caribbean Marketplace provides a great opportunity for wholesalers and tour operators to meet with hoteliers, attractions and destination officials to plan and prepare packages to accommo- date potential travelers,vacationers and conference atten- dees. It also pro- CARIBBEAN MARKET PLACE 2010, One of the Caribbean’s Most Important Marketing Events It was impossible to not be a part of the fun or to find a Mohito that you didn’t like. The Sheraton Puerto Rico Convent- BY BILL HERBERT vides conference attendees a wonderful opportunity to escape the bitter cold weather that grips most of the U.S. in January. CHTA set up 11,390 pre-sched- uled appointments for Caribbean Marketplace 2010, the second highest in the past eight years and just three percent behind the total appoint- ments for last year’s conference. Along with providing trade network- ing and sales marketing opportuni- ties, Caribbean Market-place 2010 showcased the island of Puerto Rico, one of the jewels of the Caribbean, in all of its beauty and gracious hospi- tality. In addition to its wonderful climate, sun-filled blue skies, verdant landscape and rich history, Puerto Rico was in the midst of an extended state of festivities and partying with overlapping celebra- tions of Christmas (yes, still going on in January!),Three Kings Day and the San Sebastian ion Center Hotel and Casino http://- erty/overview/index.html?propertyID=1 523, which opened in November 2009, was the host hotel for the conference. Situated adjacent to the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the new 503-room property accommodates both business and leisure travelers, offering exception- al meeting facilities, a full-service casino and resort-like amenities, including a sundeck/pool spa and retail space. The Sheraton Puerto Rico is the first new hotel and casino built in San Juan in more than ten years. Caribbean Marketplace included a series of press conferences in which con- ference participants presented new products and discussed policy and regu- latory initiatives impacting Caribbean tourism. A key topic was “Unity for Action,” the need for CHTA members to view themselves as stakeholders in a common effort to promote Caribbean tourism such that competition for busi- ness is not among CHTA members, but rather between CHTA and the rest of the world. T h e Festival. Everyone seemed to be in on the festivities;hotel workers, cab drivers, tourists and local resi- dents. motivation for this ini- tiative was the r e c o g n i t i o n that since the Caribbean econo- mies are primarily dependent upon tour- ism, the recent eco- nomic downturn has had an adverse trick- le-down effect on the rest of the economy including the agricul- tural, telecommunica- tions, transporta- t i o n , c o m - me r c e 34 Black Meetings & Tourism November/December 2010: Old San Juan District Photo Credit: Shunyu Fan

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