It’s always with a renewed sense of purpose that ones leaves the annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Marketplace. #CHTAMarketplace17 was held in Nassau (as it was last year) and saw the gathering of tourism suppliers and wholesalers from around the world along with various media outlets and sponsors.
The coming together of such a large contingent of Caribbean tourism boards, management companies, resorts, tour operators, promotional outlets, airlines, buyers, marketers, and agencies is also an opportunity to connect, reconnect, and of course learn.
2016 had to overcome concerns about Zika, Brexit, economic uncertainty caused by the US elections, a warmer than usual winter in the Caribbean’s primary markets, and a depreciation of both the Canadian dollar and the pound. While challenges to the Caribbean hospitality and tourism industry still exist, there are progressions in a more positive direction.
One interesting (and very positive) development that’s in line with the festivalization of meetings and events travel megatrend is the combining of The Taste of the Caribbean (June 2-6th in Miami) with the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum.
The combining of these two events further proves the “growing convergence between the business and creative industries, as well as boredom with the conference industry status quo…” (via Skift) Any movement in our own industry that towards a SXSW style of multidisciplinary programming will only add fuel to growth and innovation in the Caribbean tourism and hospitality industries.
Other goals for the Caribbean that stem from discussions at Marketplace include:
- Marketing the Caribbean region as a whole to provide travelers with a lifetime of vacations, not vacation of a lifetime.
- Continue to work with airlines to provide more lift to the region, for example, Jet Blue announced that they’ll be flying daily starting June 16th from JFK to Grenada (in fact, in the wake of that announcement Caribbean Airlines decided to run their own charter)
- Embrace CTO’s (Caribbean Tourism Organization) Year of Adventure: “Adventure and sustainability well-define much of our appeal, and well-reflect the shifts we’ve been seeing in why people travel and what they are looking for. As the caretakers and marketers of this global treasure that we call the Caribbean, we have not only the mandate to showcase it to the world but also to ensure it is protected, enhanced, and sustained.” – Karolin Troubetzkoy, President of CHTA.
- Embrace UNWTO’s (United Nations World Tourism Organization) Year of Sustainable Tourism
“That’s why issues like climate change, the development of our people, and the preservation of our natural, cultural, and historical resources are intertwined with our marketing and indeed, our marketability.” – Karolin Troubetzkoy
- Find new partnerships and alliances – don’t rely on the status quo. Collaborations between the private and public sectors are required for growth.
- Start looking at Airbnb as a new distribution channel and think about ways to become an experience host.
A few more ‘tweetables’ and takeaways from Marketplace:“Even though expanses of water separate us, our incredible spirit and diversity unites us.” – #Bahamas PM Perry Christie Click To Tweet While #Caribbean hotel rates declined slightly in 2016, rates in Hawaii rose 4.1% @STR_DataClick To Tweet “The #Caribbean shouldn’t be the vacation of a lifetime; it should offer a lifetime of vacations.” @troubetzkoy Click To Tweet “The effects of Brexit are still unclear but the Caribbean is loosing marketshare to the Indian Ocean.” @TravelMoleClick To Tweet “Instagram is the platform to watch for the #hospitalityindustry” @baygardenshotelClick To Tweet Travelers are spending more because it’s ‘worth it’ – amongst those planning to increase their travel budget, 49% said they will do so ‘because I or my family deserve it.” @tripadvisor Click To Tweet “Leveraging partnerships and social media are great ways to turn actions into transactions.” @sojern Click To Tweet
Header image via Travel Mole7