BARBADOS , JUNE, 2002 - Shooting has started of four television commercials being developed as part of a US$16 million regional tourism marketing campaign aimed at turning around the fortunes of Caribbean tourism.
The commercials, which are being shot in the Bahamas, Dominica and New York, will begin airing on major cable networks in the United States at the end of July, and will run through to early November.
Dubbed “Life Needs the Caribbean,” each commercial will feature images of the Caribbean and soundtrack from life in the metropolis, juxtaposing the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life and the tranquility and quiet of the Caribbean.
The joint public/private sector television promotion campaign was agreed to by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in October last year, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, to promote the region as the world’s number one warm-weather destination, and as a place to relax and unwind.
“The negative impact of the September 2001 attack on Caribbean tourism has been very severe, and continues well into 2002,” says Jean Holder, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). “The campaign therefore, when it is launched, will be very important in seeking to reverse the downward trend.”
Between September and December 2001, tourism arrivals to the Caribbean were down 17 percent over the same period in 2000. The first two months of 2002 were slightly better, with arrivals down about 13 percent, and the predictions for the summer are not encouraging, says Mr. Holder.
The regional television campaign was among several key issues discussed by Caribbean Tourism Ministers and the Board of Directors of the CTO at Caribbean Week, May 28 to 31, 2002 in New York.
They also discussed and commented on the first draft of the Regional Tourism Strategic Plan mandated by Heads of Government at their meeting in the Bahamas last December.
In light of these comments, a final draft has been prepared for wider consideration, and a final report, which takes into account all views expressed by the public and private sectors, will be completed by the end of July 2002.
The CTO Ministers and Board of Directors also discussed a proposal prepared by CTO for the establishment of a Sustainable Tourism Development fund. It was decided to proceed according to a recommendation of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)‘s Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) that the proposal should be subjected to a further national consultation before being considered by the appropriate financial authorities.
The 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony, which recognized 50 distinguished individuals for their outstanding contributions to Caribbean Tourism, and four Lifetime Achievement awardees, was a major highlight of Caribbean Week. The ceremony took place at the Waldorf Astoria, during the 29th Annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball. About 700 persons attended the Ball and Awards presentation.
“One of the most encouraging things was that, in these difficult financial times, the countries turned out for the meetings and the awards ceremony in larger numbers than I have seen in decades,” says the CTO Secretary General.
“If one thing has come out of the 9/11 crisis, it is that there is a recognition (by Caribbean governments and people) that this is the industry that they must focus on and that if they are going to depend on it they had better do it better and more efficiently than they have ever done it in the past,” says Mr. Holder. “I think that was what characterized (Caribbean) Week.”
The ninth annual Caribbean Tourism Marketing Conference, organized by the Allied membership, as well as the fourth annual Media Marketplace were among other highlights of the week. CTO hosted over 130 travel writers at the Media Marketplace. Dignitaries, hoteliers and suppliers in more than 50 booths were able to liaise with journalists during the event.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization is the region’s tourism development agency comprised of 32 member governments and a myriad of private sector companies with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto.