Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2016

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The president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Karolin Troubetzkoy sees the upcoming Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) as an opportunity for hotels and tourism-related businesses to take stock and to "open our eyes to the bigger picture, which is so important if we want to succeed not only as individual businesses and destinations, but also as a region." Speaking to reporters recently in Miami, where CHTA is headquar- tered, Trou betzkoy stated the second annual forum, slated for the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico from September 30 to October 2, 2016, will build on the success of last year's forum. She contended the upcoming exchange is an especially important one since 2016 has proven so far to be a year of significant change and challenges for the Caribbean hospitality industry. As an example, she pointed to growth in travel to Cuba where approximately 2.1 million travelers visi ted the island during the first six months of 2016, an 11.7 per- cent increase over the same period in 2015. "We have to ask what effect the opening of Cuba to U.S. travelers will have on the rest of the Caribbean. How will we deal with the shift of more American travelers going to Cuba and how will we make up for that?" CHTA embraces the lifting of the Cuba trade embargo and the lifting of U.S. travel r estrictions. At the same time, the association cautions in its policy paper on Cuba that this serves as a wake-up call for many des- tinations and hotel operators in the region to elevate their game and become more competitive. At CHIEF, hoteliers will also be looking at another element of concern - the impact of the growing sharing economy led by Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. With the Caribbean region poise d to surpass the 30 million mark in visitor arrivals for the first time this year (although hotels are reporting mixed results in occu- pancies), Troubetzkoy believes the traditional accom- modations industry must be prepared to understand shifting consumer motivations and to find creative ways to make the sharing economy work to its advantage. High on the list of issues currently impacting the Caribbe an tourism sector are: the effects of Zika, the Brexit outcome, increases in global ter- rorism risks, high airfares, rising hotel operating costs, and ineffective marketing efforts. "At CHIEF there will be a healthy dose of peer-to-peer exchanges to flush out ideas and best practices. There is no doubt that Caribbean hotels and destinations which adapt to change and are pre- pared to deal with uncertai nty are better positioned to come out ahead," said Troubetzkoy. Sessions at this year's CHIEF conference will focus on Environmental Sustainability, Operations, Sales and Marketing, and Technology. For additional information about CHIEF, visit or call (305) 443-3040. M artinique has been cited once again as the "Safest Destination in the Caribbean," the designation pub- lished in the 2016 Caribbean Tourism Quality Index. Released during the Caribbean Tourism Organization's (CTO) "Caribbean Week" in New York (May 31-June 4, 2016), the Caribbean Tourism Quality Index is an annual study produced by Resonance Consultancy, an international leader in destination development, branding, and marketing headquartered in Vancouver and New York. The Resonance study measures tourism's supply-si de performance and competitiveness in 28 destinations across the Caribbean. This marks the second time in recent years that Martinique has been rec- ognized as the "Safest Destination in the Caribbean," the previous des- ignation stemming from a 2011 International Business Times study. "As flowers are an international symbol of peace, I suppose it's fit- ting in a way that The Isle of Flowers should be recognized like this," said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. "In reality, though, it is the warmth and welcom- ing spirit of the Martinican people and the steadfast dedication of our local authorities that keeps us at the top for travel safety." CARIBBEAN CORNER B M & T ••• September/October 2016 ••• 14 CARIBBEAN TOURISM BUSINESSES M U S T A D A P T T O S U C C E E D M A R T I N I Q U E C I T E D A S C A R I B B E A N ' S S A F E S T DESTINATION IN 2016 CARIBBEAN TOURISM QUALITY INDEX RESULTS OF ANNUAL STUDY CONDUCTED BY INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AND TOURISM EXPERTS RESONANCE CONSULTANCY CONTINUES STRONG YEAR OF HONORS FOR THE ISLE OF FLOWERS Karolin Troubetzkoy (third from right) with members of her leadership team and the media in Miami recently.

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