The 28th Caribbean Marketplace
has kicked off in Aruba with a record number of delegates and buyers networking in a custom built marquis in the capital Oranjestad. With over 1,450 delegates and 13 new buyer companies the Caribbean Hotel Association’s yearly buyer-supplier networking looks set to top last year’s gathering in San Juan, Puerto Rico in terms of size and hospitality.
Edison Briesen Aruba«s Tourism Minister opened the event, which was attended by a plethora of dignitaries from across the Caribbean. The focus of the ceremony was on the country’s youth with both a young tourism scholar and singing schoolchildren partaking in the opening.
Briesen talked about the importance of tourism to the Aruban economy—with $230 million in tourism investment in 2006, including spas, restaurants and hotels. “Tourism is one of the only routes through which the Caribbean can enjoy economic growth and success.”
“The tourism marketplace is a buzz with new products,” Peter Odle of the Caribbean Hotel Association told delegates at the opening.
The joint initiative between the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and the the Caribbean Hotel Association—the Caribbean Trade Development Company was also highlighted.