Following the triumph of the 2004 World Travel Awards at The Sherbourne Conference Centre on the beautiful island of Barbados, the World Travel Internet Conference also met with critical acclaim and praise on a global scale from travel industry insiders. The event, sponsored by Cable & Wireless, took place on December 13-14 2004, and successfully kicked off Barbados Tourism Week at a key time when the country is at a peak in terms of tourism as its number one industry. The driving theme of the conference was “The Changing Face of Travel Distribution”.
In a welcome address to attendees of the World Travel Internet Conference, The Hon. Noel A. Lynch, M.P. Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados stressed the importance of travel technology in relation to tourism.
“Tourism undoubtedly stands to benefit tremendously from innovations in information technology. Access to the World Wide Web has acted to level the playing field as it relates to the ability of operators in the hospitality sector to reach clients by employing various online marketing distribution strategies.”
And it was these ‘innovations’ that captured the attention of delegates and journalists from all over the world as they listened intently to some of the leading names in the travel technology industry. These included Enrique Camacho, Executive Vice President Internet Services, Cable & Wireless, Glenn Fogel, Senior Vice President, International & Corporate Development, Priceline.com, Ron Andruff, President & CEO, Tralliance, Del Ross, Global Director e-Commerce, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Christoph Bergdolt, International Account Manager, SITA & Airport & Aviation Industry, Siemens Business, Hudson Husbands, Chairman, Barbados Tourism Authority and David Soskin, CEO, Cheapflights.
Hudson Husbands, Chairman, Barbados Tourism Authority, commented: “The decision of the World Travel Internet Conference organizers to host their inaugural conference in Barbados in the Caribbean has proven to be invaluable to this small but iconic tourist destination.
“In the first place, no where else in the world is more dependent on travel and tourism as the Caribbean and Barbados in particular. Coming on the heels of being awarded the prestigious World Travel Award’s Leading Caribbean Destination for the second year running was like ‘eating your cake and still having it’.
“It is truly a great blessing. We could not hope for better. What was very clear is the world class line up of the leading travel technology and internet speakers from around the world and the high quality of their presentations. One cannot underestimate the value of having the leaders in e-travel first visit your destination and then deliver themselves of the most up to date knowledge and experiences on travel and the internet. Certainly Barbados’ best tourism and technology minds have been stretched and stimulated as have those delegates from around the world”.
The key aim of the World Travel Internet Conference was to increase awareness of emerging innovative technology within the travel technology field as well as to tackle some of the key issues that many businesses are facing and some of the vital questions that both market leaders and consumers are asking in this rapidly growing industry.
David Soskin, CEO, Cheapflights commented:“The World Travel Internet Conference is a welcome addition to keynote events in our fast moving industry. The sessions were extremely stimulating and provided some powerful insights into how the internet has changed the travel industry in just a few years. The audience was very engaged and the questions stimulated excellent debate and discussion. Attendance is a must for every travel company interested in developing its business by using the internet.”
The Internet Conference program allowed top industry insiders to share their information whilst checking out the competition, ultimately enabling the movers and shakers in this exciting industry to determine which technologies need more focus and how to implement them. As well as proving to be informative the speakers proved to be excellent in that they were as inspiring as interesting and they all delivered first-class presentations, which had audience members enthralled.
Glenn Fogul, Senior Vice President Corporate Development, Priceline.com commented: “The conference was an excellent place to network with suppliers, online agencies, and other travel executives. The time, energy and costs saved by meeting with many people in one location instead of traipsing around the world was immeasurable.”
In an industry that is on the upswing, the online travel market continues to grow at a more rapid rate than ever, and is projected to grow to $91 billion in 2009, which is the equivalent of 33% of travel purchased. (Jupiter Research) This conference was a vital part of the future of travel technology and with such positive feedback it looks certain that next year’s event will be a phenomenal success and following world-wide exposure on World Room TV means that the event can only get bigger and better!