Allen Chastanet, the chairman of The Caribbean Hotel Associationå‘s
Marketing Committee, is encouraged with the Caribbeanå‘s efforts to market the region as a single destination, but wants to see industry stakeholders quickly reach agreement on a sustainable funding formula for the critically important program.
Speaking to reporters in New York this month, he reported that the Caribbean Hotel Association Charitable Trust (CHACT)
is extremely pleased that the level of cooperation between regional governments and the private sector has enabled the first phase of television commercials and the launch of a user-friendly and dynamic website - www.gocaribbean.com
“We are excited that the website is now off the ground, giving even small hotels and attractions - properties that previously had not enjoyed the opportunity to participate in other wholesaler programs - the ability to reach consumers in the United States,” he said.
The Air Jamaica
Vice President of Marketing and Sales explained that the next hurdle for the regional marketing campaign is developing the sustainable funding formula.
“Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados has taken a leadership role in that regard and following a meeting in February, we are hopeful there will be unanimous agreement on a formula that will ensure that there are sufficient funds to continue the program well into the future,” he said.
stressed that in order for the program to be successful, every effort is necessary to avoid the mistakes that helped propel the decline of the Caribbean`s agricultural sector in the past. He suggested that energies ought to be directed into the entire distribution channel of the Caribbean vacation experience, rather than solely focusing on the delivery of a product.
CHACT is a public/private sector conglomeration of major hotel chains, airlines and credit card companies which have joined forces with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, CARICOM and non-CARICOM nations to market and promote the Caribbean as a single destination. A regional fund has enabled the launch of a television campaign dubbed “Life Needs the Caribbean”.
The overall intent of the campaign is to brand the region and, thereby, compete with other regions of the world that have been attracting increasing Caribbean market share of the US outbound traveler for nine consecutive years.
Eighteen destinations are participating in the campaign. They are Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and the United States Virgin Islands.