[MIAMI] – For the first time in nearly 40 years, Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the premier annual gathering where Caribbean hospitality and tourism professionals meet with regional colleagues and international buyers and sellers, will be staged virtually.
The marketing event, now in its 39th edition, is traditionally held during January. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 the event will take place in an online environment from May 11-14, 2021.
Vanessa Ledesma, acting Director General and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), which hosts the annual gathering, confirmed that Marketplace organizers are crafting an agenda that will allow participants more time to engage with tour operators, travel advisors, partners, trade and consumer media and influencers, to network, showcase and sell their destinations and services.
Showcasing the region’s diverse product offerings
Not meeting face-to-face is a major change for CHTA’s marquis event. Ledesma is confident that participating in the region’s most highly anticipated events will deliver countless benefits to attendees. “This virtual edition of Marketplace provides access to the world with no restrictions. Additionally, it opens the event to a broader audience as the logistics of travel are removed. Thereby facilitating further connectivity and networking. As well as, encouraging would-be participants to take full advantage of the robust line-up of events and offerings.
Major destination partnership opportunities are also being developed. “There will be pre-Marketplace components that will help global buyers to gain a better understanding of the destinations and suppliers. And, receive briefings on entry requirements and safety protocols,” advised Ledesma.
Virtual Format Impact
In its virtual format, Caribbean Travel Marketplace will be presented over four days in May. According to Ledesma: “It’s longer than usual because the online format allows us to incorporate supplemental elements. Best of all, without impacting the core buying and selling appointments.”
In preparing for its inaugural online format, the Caribbean Travel Marketplace task force reviewed feedback from attendees of previous Marketplace events. Additionally they’ve analyzed other virtual events to incorporate best practices. The show will seek to maximize attendees’ time and avoid long hours spent in front of a computer screen. Events will be scheduled to accommodate the participation of delegates located in multiple time zones. Most importantly allowing for more than one representative per company at pre-scheduled appointments.
“We are excited about the opportunity to develop and execute an event that is representative of our diverse culture and legendary hospitality. Caribbean Travel Marketplace has been a groundbreaker in its 39 years. We’ve held some of the most iconic and memorable events in the region. We are ready to showcase the region and our diverse product offerings to the world virtually,” Ledesma noted.
CHTA: Forward Together Campaign
She also confirmed the launch of “CHTA: Forward Together”, the association’s membership drive. The drive highlights the myriad benefits of membership in the organization. CHTA is known to represent and promote the interests of the private sector of the most significant economic driver in the Caribbean.
The Forward Together campaign highlights the association’s powerful advocacy. And its hallmark Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the Resilience Series, Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), Taste of the Caribbean, and Health Training Series.