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30TH Edition of Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association's Marketing Event,
Caribbean Travel Marketplace, Sees 17% Increase in Buyer Companies

New Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives Board of Directors Named

THE CARIBBEAN (January 2011) - The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) recently wrapped up the 30th edition of Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which was held at the Atlantis, Paradise Island Jan 22-24, 2012. The region's premiere marketing event saw a 17% increase (over 2011) in buyer companies with 142 in attendance, 11 of which were from Russia, as well as an increase in buyer delegates which totaled 344 versus 314 in 2011.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace also received strong support from the public sector with the participation of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and ministers of tourism from the following CTO-member countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Turks & Caicos Islands, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States Virgin Islands.

"It was good to have the ministers from the public sector supporting the private sector as we as a region stand united in our efforts to remain the leading warm weather destination in the Western hemisphere," said Josef Forstmayr, president of CHTA.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace is the requisite business-to-business marketing event for the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry. At the event, hoteliers, tourism providers and tour operators/wholesalersfrom around the world scheduled 12,250 appointments over the course of the two-day event up from 11,880 appointments in 2011.

Buyer companies came from Argentina, The Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada (nine companies), Ecuador, Germany, Italy, Japan, Martinique, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Russia (11 companies), Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (22 companies) and United States (74 companies).

"This marks the 30th consecutive year that CHTA has held the event. It remains the region's most important and largest marketing event and the single most important CHTA benefit for our hotel members," said Forstmayr in his opening remarks to conference delegates. "You may have noted that I referred to Marketplace as Caribbean Travel Marketplace - this is the new name for the event as it better describes the function of Marketplace."

In touting his "Tourism is Key, " Forstmayr stated: "There has to be a strong consensus of our leaders and the public so that travel and tourism will receive the full support it needs as the Caribbean's most vital export industry. It is the fastest way to create jobs, grow the economy and generate income for all. Every citizen needs to understand that, whether or not he or she works directly in the tourism areas, every tourist's dollar brings economic and social benefits to every level of our society."

Josef Forstmayr, President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, Prime Minister, Commonwealth of The Bahamas

In his welcome remarks to Caribbean Travel Marketplace delegates, Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, prime minister, Commonwealth of The Bahamas, had a positive outlook for tourism to the Caribbean stating, "We begin 2012 with the hope that this year will mark a distinct point of recovery and return to sustained growth for tourism in our region. We believe that early signs of improvement are evident. In The Bahamas, we saw a robust uptick in arrivals since November last. By a number of measures, this past December was particularly good for the 14 major Nassau and Paradise Island hotels."

Forstmayr highlighted airlift challenges that the Caribbean faces stating, "There are no 'drive-ins' in the Caribbean - most of our guests arrive by air. CHTA estimated that in 2010 the Caribbean governments collectively paid $45 million to secure air-lift - only to find that our airlift is still inadequate and way too expensive for our visitors.

"Furthermore intra-Caribbean tourism once represented 13% of the region's tourism; as much as Canada. The combined population of Caribbean countries is 40 million. However, due to the lack of a competitive and truly regional airline, regional tourism has been suffocated by outrageous ticket prices and a cumbersome and ill-conceived network.

"Caribbean nationals cannot travel freely between their countries without being subjected to visas, long immigration lines and other bureaucratic indulgences that stifle any sense of hospitality, the Caribbean's trade-mark.

"We need to establish the very BEST welcome and farewell to all our visitors as well as returning residents within the Caribbean. This must be a "call to action" to all governments and airport operators to focus on this issue. Too often, we hear that long lines, antiquated bureaucracy and surly attitudes are commonplace in our islands ....this is NOT acceptable," concluded Forstmayr.

New CSHAE Board of Directors
Lisa Hamilton, president, United States Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association, was elected president of CSHAE succeeding Frank Comito, executive vice president, Bahamas Hotel Association, who held the position since 2009. Gilda Gumbs-Samuel, executive director, Anguilla Hotel & Tourism Association, was elected vice president while Neil Forrester, general manager, Antigua Hotels & Tourism Association was re-elected as treasurer and Noorani Azeez, St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, was elected secretary.

Other members elected to the CSHAE Board of Directors include:

  • Frank Comito, executive vice president, Bahamas Hotel Association
  • Pancy Cross, executive director, Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association
  • Clarisa Jimenez, president and CEO, Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association
  • Louanna Chai-Alves, executive director, Trinidad Hotels, Restaurant & Tourism Association
  • Valya Pantophlet, executive director, Sint Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association
  • James Hepple, president & CEO, Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association
Conference Organizers & Sponsors
In addition to CHTA, sponsors of Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2012 included: host sponsors The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Paradise Island Promotion Board, The Bahamas Hotel Association, MasterCard and Virgin Holidays as well as Adara Media, AMResorts, Bonier Travel Group - Caribbean Travel + Life, Conde Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit, Exposure4 Video Production, IHG - InterContinental Hotels Group Caribbean, International Hospitality & Tourism Institute, Interval International, The New York Times, Starwood Caribbean Collection, STR - Smith Travel Research, The Knot, Travelzoo, TripAdvisor, Utell Hotles & Resorts -Pegasus Solution and World Travel Awards Limited.

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) facilitates the full potential of the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry by serving members' needs and building partnerships in a socially responsible and sustainable manner. Celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2012, CHTA is the voice of the Caribbean hospitality industry for the development of the region in the highly competitive and sophisticated environment of international tourism. Today, tourism is widely recognized as a pivotal industry in the economy of the region - and CHTA functions as the common denominator for this industry in a region of diverse nationalities, languages and styles, identifying mutual problems and marshaling the resources of the active and allied members to devise solutions. CHTA represents all facets of the hospitality industry with more than 725 member hotels and 525 allied members.

For more information, visit

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Telephone: 516-594-4100
Theresa M. Oakes / [email protected]
Tricia Rapp / [email protected]

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Also See: Puerto Rico to Host 16th and 17th Annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conferences / July 2011

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism (CHTA) Elects Richard J. Doumeng as President-elect for 2012-2014 / July 2011

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism (CHTA) Honors Rodney Howell and Lino van der Biezen with Carribbean Employee & Supervisor of the Year Awards / July 2011

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism (CHTA) Education Foundation Receives Largest Donation to Date, $50,000, Presented by Intervale International and Participating Caribbean Member Resorts / May 2011

Keynote Speaker and Agenda Set for the 15th Annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) May 10-12, 2011 in Montego Bay, Jamaica / April 2011

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Adds Two New Conferences for 2011 with Events Scheduled in Barbados and St. Lucia for June and October / April 2011

Recap Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference: Robert Crandall, Former CEO of American Airlines, Provides Frank and Honest Assessment of the Issues Facing Caribbean Tourism; CSHAE Elects 2010-2011 Leadership / May 2010

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation Providing Scholarships for Students Seeking Career in Hospitality / December 2009

The Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association Names David Callaghan the Allied Member of the Year; Recognized for Ongoing Support of the Caribbean Hospitality Industry / January 2009

Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives Agree on Six Point Plan for National Associations; Susan Springer, Executive Director of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association Re-elected President / May 2008

Caribbean Hotel Association Recognizes Individuals that Raise the Bar for Caribbean Hospitality; Eustace Guishard, GM of Cap Juluca Resort in Anguilla Named “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year” / July 2005

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