The CHA 2006 has closed its doors ....
Key theme that has emerged is bringing the public and private sector closer together:
Alec Sanguinetti, Director General & CEO, Caribbean Hotel Association
“We anticipate that at the end of the event we will have surpassed the number of supplier company’s and the number of buyer companies that attended with 15, 000 delegates. Significantly, there were nearly 200 buyers in attendance and 400 buyer delegates and the computer scheduled 480 more appointments this year than last year.
A big advantage has been the Puerto Rico convention centre with 75, 000 square feet selling area and all the support areas. The response we have got from all of the delegates is that it is very friendly, very user friendly and is very conducive to doing business and they are very happy with it which is a very big thing for our convention.
CHA and the CTO signed a memorandum of co-operation last year and following that we have developed a Caribbean logo which we have developed into the Caribbean brand to maximise the opportunities of that brand. Both organisations are coming together far more closely now and as a result of that at this marketplace we have had 1 Chief Minister and over 14 ministers of tourism partake in the event - that is the largest number of tourist members at an event like this so the bonding has started and that is very important for an event like this in terms of the private sector coming together. If there is any one initiative coming out of this conference it is the fact that it is bringing the private and public sector closer together.
We are determined to make the Caribbean competitive - in doing that you have to look at your product and your human resources. How do we train our people to deliver that quality product that we want to deliver.
Another important area is the heavy tax burden that is on land based tourism . We have just completed a tax research study and it confirms what we already knew - that is going to be one of our main priorities - in talking with the public sector - to demonstrate that you can kill the goose that lays a golden egg and perhaps if there was a relaxation of taxes - we could be more competitive pricewise - we would get more business coming Iin and the revenue flow to the government would increase.
Very productive - the new facilities here exceptional. The Caribbean is going through a very buoyant time. The major economies are doing very well.
In future years they want to move to moe exotic destinations - last year in the tent was very good.
Sandals developments - doubling size of Sandals Antigua have planned expansion for Turks and Caicos - we are looking at other countries.
On plans to leave the Caribbean region - The World is still there
Romeo Fleming, President, Tourism commissioner St Martin
St Marin recently announced new airlift from Delta and improved services from United
Looking to expand into other areas in N America.
It is at the beginning of the year so it is time for us to review all the projection in terms of marketing and promotion, to meet with other hoteliers and St Martin has been very satisfied with the airlines lift to the airline.
“I think it is pretty well run considering it is a new building. I think that on our side the outcome is a little bit higher than last year.
“the Caribbean is a well in demand destination and we have to capitalise on that.”
Richard Ricky, Minister of State for Tourism, Sports and culture
This show has a strong history which is a very private sector oriented show that is buyers and sellers getting together. It focuses on the Caribbean - but not just the destination. It is really focusing on the individual products and attractions. Over the course of the 2 days b2b meetings are taking place about the future of the industry and selling product to take to the market. As a minister of tourism, we are here to give support to that process, to do some of the PR but also to deal with airlift.
St Kitts which is in talks with Marriott Vacations and Ritz Carlton and another unnamed European operator had a positive show with “The suggestions are that a lot of demand is emerging for St Kitts in the marketplace - it is a rapidly emerging future destination.”
Richard Ricky, Minister of State for Tourism, Sports and culture reflected on last years event commented: “in Jamaica there was a tremendous enthusiasm as the Caribbean was taking on an upsurge in interest. The whole industry was in a boom and was re-emerging because since 9/1 things have been down - there was this energy that I felt in this event”
According to Ricky, the impact of rising fuel prices has counteracted last years buzz and resulted in a more mellow show: “People are not jumping around but they are still very optimistic. The cost of fuel and the impact of airlift is obviously something that bothers all of us and is an ongoing threat but there is a lot of enthusiasm in the industry and I sense that it still has a bright future.”