25th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference Oct 28-31 Packed With Dynamic Speakers, Seminars & Workshop

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism are preparing to welcome over 1,000 delegates to the 25th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-25), taking place Oct. 28-31, 2002 at Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort, Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas.  The theme of the event is “Reinventing Caribbean Tourism.”

This year, CTO, along with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, will host tourism industry officials representing Caribbean governments, hotels, airlines, cruise lines, travel agents, tour operators, allied members and media representatives from around the world.

Based upon survey information collected by CTO, the travel agent content in the program has been significantly enhanced for CTC-25.  A dynamic roster of speakers has been announced for this year’s event, with the objective of providing a greater “how to” approach to selling Caribbean vacations.  To date, key speakers include the following
industry experts:
Margaret Bernal, Vice President, Museum of the Americas
Barry Biffle, Director, Consumer Revenue Opportunity, US Airways
Louise Bryce, Director of Marketing, British Tourist Authority
Marc Andre Charlebois, President & CEO, Association of Canadian Travel Agents
George deMercado, Vice President of Sales, Air Jamaica
Caroline Ferguson, Manager, Martinair, UK
Andrew Gledhill, President, Ground Zero Advertising
Steve Gorga, President, Travel Impressions
Philippa Harris, Managing Director, Sovereign Holidays, Germany
Theo Heyliger, Commissioner of Tourism, St. Maarten
Hugh Hough, President and Creative Director, Green Team Advertising
Jeff Jenks, President, Detroit Chapter, CTO
Richard Knodt, President & CEO, Vacation.com
Barbara Mangini, President, The Mangini Group
Marie Mason, Group Publisher, Travel Weekly
Christine Nicholas, President, NYC & Company
Betsy O’Rourke, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Travel Industry Association
Chantal Péan, Vice President, Information, Canadian Travel Commission
Keith Powell, President, Powell & Associates
Jason Pruisman, Senior Director, Consumer Marketing, Travelocity
Marc Rosenberg, Vice President, Sales & Product Distribution, Air Canada
Peter Warren, President, DOT Media
Jacqueline B. Wolfer, President, International Tours Fifth Avenue, New York City

Moderators include:
Conrad Aleong, Chairman, BWIA West Indies Airways
Karen Ford-Warner, Deputy Secretary General, CTO
Berthia Parle, President, Small Hotels Association
Arley Sobers, Director, Research & Information Management, CTO
Simon Suarez, President, Caribbean Hotel Association
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism

The new Bahamas Prime Minister, Hon. Perry Christie will deliver the keynote address. Over one thousand delegates are expected to hear Mr. Christie, who was sworn in as Prime Minister following general elections in May 2002, outline his vision for Bahamas and regional tourism at this critical time.
Contests and Noteworthy Presentations
With Caribbean tourism continuing to experience the devastating effects of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, CTO is putting together an exciting and stimulating program aimed at improving the region’s competitiveness and visitor arrival numbers.  Some of the inspiring subjects to be explored at CTC-25 include:
á Fortifying the Brand: Successful Strategies for Times Like These
á A Non-traditional View of Cooperative marketing
á Technology Tools for Today’s marketplace
á Survival of the Fittest: Staying Financially Strong in a Threatening Environment.
A thought-provoking session on current airline strategies dubbed “View from the Cockpit; View from the Seats” is expected to be among the most captivating and most sought after discussions.
With travel agents experiencing possibly the most challenging period in their history, CTO has also planned motivational sales workshops for agents.  These workshops are being led by professionals experienced in helping travel agents increase their profitability. One session will explore methods of using change as a catalyst for growth, while another deals with selling group travel.
One of the most favored events at any CTC is the CTO “My Caribbean Essay Contest,” sponsored and run by Conde Nast Traveler.  Following tradition, a grand prizewinner will be announced and have the opportunity to read the award-winning entry to the entire delegation.

A host of spotlight presentations and product tours are being organized to showcase the diverse destinations and hotel developments in the region.  Post tours are optional to Nassau,  Grand Bahama Island and the Out Islands.  Additional information about post tours is available by contacting CTO’s New York office.

CTC, the only inclusive annual regional tourism convention, provides a dynamic forum for regional tourism industry professionals to interact with their global peers.  Through this interaction, solutions to the concerns affecting the development of a viable and sustainable tourism product are developed.

The Islands of The Bahamas encompasses 700 Islands and Cays stretching over 100,000 nautical square miles and offers some of the finest beaches in the world, excellent dining, snorkeling facilities, duty free shopping, interchangeable currency and an international standard of accommodation.  It is the closest Caribbean destination to the USA and offers travelers the convenience of US immigration and customs pre-clearance from Nassau and Grand Bahama International Airports and the free exchange between the Bahamian dollar and the US dollar.