President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Patricia Affonso-Dass, hailed the diversity, incredible natural beauty and people as core strengths of the region as she called for it to be better known as the most welcoming in the world.
Kicking off the 37th annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the Caribbean’s largest tourism marketing event, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the Barbados-based hotelier said it was time to change the way the world references the region.
She added: “We are the most tourism-dependent in the world, as well as the world’s most desirable, most tolerant and inclusive, most welcoming, most hospitable, most facilitative and investment-friendly, and most environmentally sensitive.”
Speaking on behalf of the region’s pre-eminent private sector trade association and its 33 national hotel and tourism associations, the president warmly welcomed delegates to the conference.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace is hosting the largest group of buyers in its history from the widest number of countries.
Sixty new buyer companies out of about 145 have joined the conference this year and CHTA is welcoming the largest contingent of Chinese travel buyers to date along with new buyer companies from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, India, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Our relationship with you, our buyer partners, and your active engagement in promoting and selling our region is integral to the sustainability of our economies and, by extension, the livelihood of our people, and I would like to encourage you to get more actively engaged with the association,” Patricia Affonso-Dass implored.
“The diversity of buyers attending marketplace from around the world ironically reflects the diversity of our Caribbean offerings - a united region with an incredible array of offerings with their own distinct natural beauty, history and culture. This is one of our core strengths,” she added.
Affonso-Dass, who has championed the theme of “people development” even prior to assuming the role of president last year, asserted that the people of the region are “our most important asset and our most marketable commodity”.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2019 is produced by CHTA in collaboration with co-hosts the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Jamaica ministry of tourism.
It is the leading event in the Caribbean tourism industry where delegates from Caribbean countries meet with buyers from more than 20 markets.