In a first for Caribbean Travel Marketplace, The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has introduced a pilot program for a group of leading travel agents to take part in the conference which kicks off today at Baha Mar’s Performing Arts and Convention Centre, reports Press Today’s assistant editor, Ann Ruppenstein, who’s attending this year’s show.
Although the top Caribbean-selling travel advisors are from the US, CHTA president Patricia Affonso-Dass told PressToday the association is exploring ways to broaden hoteliers’ reach into the travel agent community and that trade bookings are on the rebound.
“We are sponsoring a dozen travel agents to attend, specifically as a pilot to explore how we broaden that component into our largest marketing event. Hoteliers throughout the region continue to sponsor and court travel agents,” she added. “Many unfortunately wrote off travel agents and are now coming to realize and reaffirm their incredible value. The opportunities are endless. As Caribbean Travel Marketplace evolves, we will examine ways to connect more directly with travel agents and companies that serve niche markets, from luxury travel to meetings and incentives.”
In collaboration with Baha Mar, the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, and the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, this year’s Marketplace runs through Jan. 23.
“We’re excited to welcome back CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace to Nassau Paradise Island,” said Fred Lounsberry, CEO of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board. “This is one of the best events to promote tourism to the entire Caribbean region and always brings together a dynamic mix of influential people from this space. From major new developments and enhancements at Baha Mar and Atlantis, Paradise Island to the new Margaritaville Beach Resort opening this summer, 2020 is going to be an exciting year for the Bahamas and this event is a great way to kick it off.”
The region’s largest annual tourism B2B event brings together tour operators and wholesalers from around the world to connect with Caribbean hoteliers, attractions and destination organizations for one-on-one meetings and networking opportunities. Affonso-Dass said the purpose is not only to establish new business relationships but also to reinforce ongoing relationships.
“The bottom line is simple – to showcase the depth and breadth of the Caribbean’s tourism offerings and generate business,” she said. “The event has been a primary catalyst contributing to the growth and development of tourism in the region.”
Pictured at top: delegates are staying at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. Middle: Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of CHTA, and Patricia Affonso-Dass at last year’s Marketplace held in Jamaica.