Increase in the Marketplace

Caribbean Marketplace 2009 sees favorable numbers


By: By Jason Huffine

Countering bleak economic forecasts for the industry, destination marketing executives, hoteliers and tour wholesalers are coming together for Caribbean Marketplace 2009 in large numbers.

With a few weeks left until the January marketing event, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is reporting a 6 percent increase, from the same time last year, in buyer and supplier delegate registration, bringing the total of committed delegates to over 1,000.

Caribbean Marketplace 2009, hosted by CHTA, the St. Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association and the St. Lucia Tourist Board, will take place in Gros Islet, St. Lucia. Virgin holidays and American Express will sponsor the event.

It's also notable to mention that Caribbean Marketplace utilizes its computerized program of appointments to create an forum for business meetings that effectively matches buyers and suppliers, making business easier to conduct. At last year’s event, CHTA pre-scheduled 16,172 appointments.

Buyer registration remains the same as last year at $299 per person, while the supplier delegate fee is currently $429 per person. Registration includes pre-scheduled appointments, a listing in the electronic Delegate Directory, two buffet lunches, opening cocktail reception, buffet dinner and entertainment at the Caribbean Night event, entrance to all business and social functions and shuttle bus service between host hotels and Caribbean Marketplace venues.

Hotel accommodations are not included in the registration fee for buyers or suppliers, and supplier participation requires the rental of a booth, available in four sizes.

Acknowledging the fiscal concerns of hoteliers, though, the CHTA is arranging to accept unsold rooms as payment for booths and registration fees.