Counterpart International, producers of the biannual Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), hailed the government-run Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) for capturing top honours at the 10th World Travel Awards at The Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday. “We were in no way surprised by this award - it`s why we decided to hold the next session of CMEx on the island”, said Counterpart President, Lelei LeLaulu.
Travel agents from more than 200 countries voted Barbados as the Caribbean’s Leading Destination, and the Barbados Tourism Authority, the Caribbean`s Leading Tourist & Convention Bureau, emerging ahead of nominees Tobago, Bahamas, Jamaica and St. Lucia in both categories.
Additionally, the island’s Sherbourne Conference Centre copped the award for the Caribbean`s Leading Conference Centre, while Grantley Adams International Airport was voted the Caribbean`s Leading Airport.
Air Jamaica, Barbados’ designated flag carrier to the US and one of Counterpart’s strategic partners, was voted the Caribbean’s Leading Airline, while Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados captured the 2003 honour of leading golf resort in the Caribbean, and Barbados’ Villa Nova the top boutique hotel in the region.
“This is testimony to the visionaries of Barbados tourism, both from the public and private sector,” said LeLaulu, who congratulated the island for its vision in integrating both government and business, along with civil society, into the development of a world class sustainable tourism product. “On the tenth anniversary of the historic Barbados Small Islands summit, held in the Sherbourne Centre, it is most fitting to see the host island nation get the recognition it so richly deserves”.
“Sustainable tourism was a major element identified as key to the sustainable development of islands in the Barbados Programme of Action ten years ago,” added LeLaulu, “and it`s wonderful to see Barbados take the lead in developing this most important sector of the region`s economy.”
Bill Silvermintz, BTA Vice President of Marketing for The Americas said that for travel agents to recognise the fact that “we are the leading Caribbean destination and our efforts at the Barbados Tourism Authority have gone way above and beyond, is just extremely rewarding and satisfying.”
Counterpart International’s CMEx V conference will be held in Barbados, December 4-8, 2003 at Almond Village Resort in the north of the island.
CMEx partner organisations include Counterpart Caribbean, Caribbean Hotel Association, Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, Air Jamaica, Caribbean Hotel Association Charitable Trust (Life Needs the Caribbean), EarthVoice and Caribbean Broadcasting Union.
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