Keep interest alive, says CHTA official
It is time for Barbadian tourism officials and their counterparts in the Caribbean to support efforts to promote the region as one destination.
Following Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) chairman Beverly Nicholson-Doty’s “Christmas wish” for this to take place, regional vice-president of franchise service and programmes for Choice Hotels International, Bill Clegg, has made the same call.
He was speaking as hundreds of regional and international tourism delegates gathered in Montego Bay, Jamaica, last week for this year’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace (CTM), which was hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).
His comments were made as the CHTA announced the election of new president Emil Lee and named George Markantonis, of Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, Caribbean Hotelier Of The Year. Clegg said it was time for all stakeholders in the Caribbean’s tourism industry to fully embrace regional marketing. The official, who is based in North Carolina and is the CHTA’s regional vice-president and chairman of its membership committee, said global competition was real and urged the region to “elevate its game”.
Clegg said the Caribbean was frequently requested by Choice Hotels guests, which suggested the region should try to find ways to keep this interest alive.
He pointed out that regional marketing programmes developed by the CHTA and public sector partner the CTO, while helping to push the value of the Caribbean brand, “ can’t succeed without more consolidated support from their members”.
The CHTA representative identified a “huge opportunity awaiting the region not only in the traditional North American and European markets, but also in emerging markets, including long haul destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, South America, the Middle East and Africa”.
“But we first have to get our act together and promote the Caribbean, with its many wonderful attractions, as one region,” he said.
Last month, Nicholson-Doty said she wanted the Caribbean to “commit to promoting the region as one destination throughout 2014 . . . so that the Caribbean Tourism Development Company, which we own jointly with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, can bolster our campaign for the region’s benefit”.
Meanwhile, the CHTA’s incoming president Lee, current president of the St Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association, and general manager of Princess Heights Hotel in that country, said “if CHTA can function more effectively as a centralizing and coordinating entity for the Caribbean, I believe we can access the vast untapped potential of the Caribbean hospitality industry”.
Lee, who will succeed Richard Doumeng in June and be in the post for two years was elected at the CHTA’s annual general meeting last week.
“Great strides are being made in fiscal discipline, strategic planning and restructuring the CHTA. I will continue to support the current strategy of using CHTA to strengthen the national hotel associations,” he said.(SC/PR)