Barbados’ prime minister, Mia Mottley, is preparing to welcome guests to the Caribbean Travel Marketplace in the coming days.
The industry-leading event, organised by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), will take place on the island from May 9-11.
It will be the forty first staging of the show.
Prime minister Mottley will launch proceedings with a keynote address at Sandals Royal Barbados on the first evening, speaking under the theme Tourism: The key driver of generational wealth for Caribbean nationals.
The event will be the highlight of the Caribbean Travel Forum, which focuses on the business of tourism in the Caribbean with discussions of timely topics such as multi-destination marketing, intra-Caribbean travel with emphasis on air connectivity, sustainability, technology innovation, labour market concerns, taxation and tourism linkages.
Mottley will encourage captains of the travel industry, general managers, thought leaders and government officials to leverage Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which is being hosted by Barbados for the first time, to present the strengths, resilience and attractiveness of the Caribbean region to global buyers, media and potential investors.
The prime minister is known for her bold calls for the international community to recognize how small-island, tourism-dependent countries of the Caribbean have been impacted by external shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the broader issue of climate change.
The keynote will be preceded by the ‘state of the industry and region’ address from Nicola Madden-Greig, president of CHTA, the trade association which speaks for the interests of the private sector.
Other presenters and panellists include Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights for ForwardKeys; Jamaica minister of tourism Edmund Bartlett; Cayman Islands minister of tourism and ports Kenneth Bryan, who is also chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation; Charlie Osmound, co-founder, Triptease; Neil Foster, president, Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP); John Byles, managing partner at Chukka Caribbean Adventures; and Marie McKenzie, senior vice president, government & destination affairs, Carnival Corporation.
During the Forum, distinguished Caribbean tourism industry professionals will be recognised at the CHTA Awards Luncheon where Destination Resilience Awards and the CHTA Icon Award will be presented.
Prior to the awards lunch, a private-public partnership panel will share what steps are needed to ensure that the Caribbean remains the number one warm weather destination while addressing some of the major potential headwinds.
The forum will also include panels focused on responsible tourism and technology, featuring discussions around artificial intelligence and its impact on the tourism sector.
“Together we can chart a new path leading out of recovery towards creating a sustainable industry capable of handling future shocks while continuing to drive the region’s growth and development,” said Madden-Greig.
The CHTA president encouraged stakeholders to take the opportunity to participate in the most important discussion and networking opportunity for the future of the tourism industry and the region, while remaining laser-focused on solutions to provide generational wealth for Caribbean nationals.
Madden-Greig revealed CHTA was excited to be heading to Barbados for the first time.
“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.
Ian Gooding-Edghill, Barbados’ minister of tourism and international transport, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-Covid environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.
“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,” said Gooding-Edghill, who believes the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE market.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace 41 will build on the success of the fortieth edition, which was held in Puerto Rico.
“Our private sector partners, together with the BTMI and the Ministry of Tourism and Transport, are keen to showcase Barbados’ exceptional product and experiences and we cannot wait to welcome you to our island home,” said Renee Coppin, chairman of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association.
Meanwhile, Madden-Greig noted that this year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.
Barbados will showcase its tourism offering during the event.
Each place on the island has a story, every meal is a celebration and each day promises new experiences, discoveries and memories to last a lifetime.
Many expect Barbados to be a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip, but quickly discover that it is the kind of place you want to return to, time and time again.
Guests will have the opportunity to explore the little-known natural treasures like the tranquil Long Pond and experience the most popular attractions like the famous Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry.
Swim with the turtles, sample the oldest rum in the world or take a dip with the locals at the natural beach “jacuzzi” - Hot Pot.
Hike through the idyllic East Coast, dine sumptuously along the exclusive West Coast and sing karaoke into the early hours of the morning on the fun-loving South Coast.
Play dominoes at one of the 1,500+ rum shops on island and dig into some delicious roast breadfruit, dripping in butter from one of a roadside food stall.
With so much to do, it is probably pretty obvious now why travellers keep coming back.
Take a look at a fuller list of things to go here.
While pristine beaches, crystal blue waters, perfect year-round weather and the indomitable spirit of the Bajan people is certainly enough of a reason to visit the island, Barbados offers so much more than what its diminutive size and ideal location may suggest.
Here, visitors can discover a place steeped in the timelines of British, American, African and Caribbean history.
They are free to write a flawless preamble to a storybook wedding or honeymoon, conduct business in a way that is anything but the usual, or simply immerse in the joyous spectacle of a nation that gives cause to making every day a celebration.
Quite possibly the most enjoyable way to master the art of fine living in Barbados is to take part in any of the unforgettable and exciting activities afforded by the island.
Though diminutive in its 166 square miles, Barbados excels in providing visitors with an overabundance of rewarding pursuits.
Take a look at some accommodation options, here.
World Travel Awards
The winners are set to be revealed at the Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony, due to take place in St Lucia on August 26th.
Find out more about voting here.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace takes place at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados from May 9-11.
Find out more about the event on the official website.