The Caribbean will feature prominently at World Travel Market (WTM) 2003 in London from November 10 - 13.
Over 30 Caribbean destinations, including scores of private sector representatives, will exhibit Caribbean culture, art, food and music at WTM, which has attracted a record 189 countries this year.
As it has done in previous years, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) will oversee the construction, décor and coordination of a Caribbean Village at WTM, described as the world’s second largest tourism trade show behind ITB in Berlin.
The Caribbean Village, created over 25 years ago with the support of the European Union, features brightly coloured stands designed like chattel houses which surround a central area where people come together to meet and discuss and do business. And of course there is a Caribbean Meeting Point where the destinations entertain their guests with local Caribbean cuisine and refreshments.
Over the years, this concept has become so successful that the region has built on it and creates Caribbean Villages at other European tourism trade shows.
“The Caribbean Village has grown to the extent that many more Caribbean private sector entities are exhibiting in their own stalls at the Village and are conducting business with travel agents, industry buyers and influencers who attend WTM,” said Julia Hendry, CTO’s director of marketing for Europe.
“Also throughout the event, we are actively working with both our public and private sector membership, along with the UK and European travel trade, to ensure that maximum awareness is created throughout the show to increase trade awareness both of the CTO UK Chapter and the Caribbean region as a whole,” she added.
The Caribbean Village is a focal point for a host of activities, including a pre-WTM European Market Forum on the 9th November 2003 where ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, representatives of various sectors of the travel industry and the media discuss the global competition in the tourism industry as it relates to the Caribbean’s performance in the European market.
On a networking and social level, CTO will facilitate a “Meet the Media” party on Monday 10th November 2003, at which the Caribbean will host the European media. The event will provide the public sector membership as well as major exhibitors with an opportunity to meet the trade press.
A major pre-WTM event is the Policy Workshop on Caribbean Tourism organised by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Caribbean Council and which will be co-chaired by Bill Rammell, the British minister responsible for relations with the Caribbean, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Aloun N’Dombet Assamba, Jamaica’s minister of tourism.
The objective of this policy workshop is to distinguish the core issues around which tourism might be made more central to the policy dialogue,” the FCO said.
A number of Caribbean ministers of tourism, including Obie Wilchcombe, the minister of tourism of the Bahamas and chairman of CTO, are down to address the November 6-7 workshop.
The first session, at which Mr. Wilchcombe and Simon Suarez, president of the private sector Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) are scheduled to speak, will look at the 10-year Regional Tourism Strategic Plan mandated by Caribbean Community Heads of Government in December 2001. The Plan, a collaborative effort of CTO, CHA and affiliated tourism stakeholders, was approved by the board of CTO in 2002.
Organisers of World Travel Market say they expect to increase the size of the exhibition by more than five per cent when it opens at London ExCeL on Monday 10th, 2000. Last year’s event attracted more than five thousand exhibiting companies spread over 36,850 square metres of space and drew almost 44,000 visitors, exhibiting personnel and international media.