Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards is pleased to announce that the 26th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-26) held on St. Thomas, October 16 - 18, was successful for St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and the entire Caribbean tourism industry.
The United States Virgin Islands hosted CTC-26 at the Marriott Frenchman`s Reef Resort on St. Thomas. With the theme of “Recovery & Growth in a Fiercely Competitive Market,” the conference brought together more than 700 influential travel industry leaders, including members of the international media, travel agents and the Caribbean`s leading tourism officials, to discuss relevant issues that affect the current state of the travel industry.
“Everyone in attendance sincerely enjoyed the hospitality, beauty and ease of travel that our islands offer visitors,” Commissioner Richards said. “I extend my deepest thanks to everyone who helped to make this conference such a success. The meetings were thought-provoking and productive.”
Conference meetings for Directors of Tourism began on October 13, and continued throughout the conference. A special media day was held on October 15, to allow representatives from each participating nation to discuss newsworthy events and promotions with the international media in attendance. The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism hosted a private media luncheon at Government House on St. Thomas that same day. The Honorable Governor Charles W. Turnbull and Commissioner Richards spoke of the unique history and cultural heritage of the USVI and announced the territory`s upcoming winter promotion.
The official opening ceremony for all conference delegates was held at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center on October 16, and featured University of the West Indies` Professor Rex Nettleford as the keynote speaker, as well as an unforgettable cultural performance by the Caribbean Dance Company and top Quelbe music performers.
In addition to notable discussions and stimulating lectures, a few highlights of the three-day program included: a welcome reception at the West Indies Company Limited dock, complete with a mini Carnival parade; the selection and reading of Condé Nast`s winning “My Caribbean Essay”; the “Great Caribbean” travel game breakfast; a keynote address from Dr. The Honorable Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines; and the Travel & Leisure youth congress. The conference concluded with a splendid “Star Spangled Gala,” hosted by the USVI Department of Tourism, on October 18, which bid a patriotic farewell to all delegates.
Prior to the conference, interested travel media enjoyed a three-night tour of St. Croix and St. John. A total of 15 media representatives participated in the pre-tour and enjoyed the sights and sounds of St. Thomas` sister islands. A similar familiarization tour of St. Croix and St. John was offered to travel agents following the conference. Twenty-two delegates participated in the offer.
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