Continuing funding of the Caribbean’s tourism marketing campaign featured on the agenda for Caribbean Prime Ministers gathering in Montego Bay, Jamaica last week for the 24th CARICOM Heads of Government meeting.
According to Ralph Taylor, chairman of the Caribbean Hotel Association Charitable Trust (CHACT) - the body that has administered the marketing of the region during the past year - the leaders will discuss concrete proposals to build on the successful start to the Life Needs the Caribbean regional campaign.
“If this submission is acceptable to the Governments, by the end of the year we will see a sustainable formula in place for Caribbean tourism,” said Taylor.
A quietly confident Taylor is pleased that Caribbean governments have understood the vital importance of regional cooperative marketing and disclosed that the proposals will actually be introduced by Caribbean Ministers of Tourism following recent talks with the region’s private sector.
Independent research conducted by Hall & Partners shows that the marketing campaign, launched last August, kept the region as a top-of-mind destination and its brand buoyant in the marketplace. Representing about 8 % of the annual Caribbean dollar spend, the campaign increased the region`s awareness by 20%, while for those who did not see the ads, awareness decreased by 12 %.
“The net result of the advertising has been significant for Caribbean tourism,” said Taylor, who noted that despite the challenges facing international travel, with few exceptions, business has been favourable across the region. He disclosed that bookings on the www.gocaribbean.com are encouraging, while CHACT`s partner - Expedia Inc. - has registered phenomenal growth in Caribbean sales during the past year. The campaign included both television and internet advertising.
Last Autumn, CHACT launched the US$16 million campaign to market and promote the Caribbean as a single destination. The Trust, a public/private sector alliance, unites major hotel chains, airlines and credit card companies with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, and with both CARICOM and non-CARICOM nations.
www.GoCaribbean.com allows the region to play a full role in the entire distribution channel of Caribbean holiday`s, rather than just focusing on the delivery of a product. Consumers and travel agents alike can now book airlines, hotels and other Caribbean properties at bulk or heavily discounted rates.