The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has introduced a pilot program to include a group of leading travel agents from across the United States at next week’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in The Bahamas.
Karen Whitt, CHTA’s First Vice President and Chair of Caribbean Travel Marketplace, announced that in addition to the wholesalers and tour operators who traditionally attend Marketplace from around the world, top Caribbean-selling travel agents from New York and Rhode Island to Tennessee and Texas will assemble at the popular Baha Mar resort campus in Nassau to meet with operators of Caribbean hotels, resorts and attractions.
“Throughout the years we’ve discussed the idea of how to incorporate the travel agent industry into our event and we have a lot of different ideas on how this could be done successfully,” said Whitt, who serves as Vice President of Marketing and Brand Development for the Hartling Group in Turks and Caicos Islands.
She explained that to kickstart the process, CHTA invited a select group of top-tier agents to experience Marketplace 2020, participate as a buyer, and provide feedback on the event. “This feedback will help shape policies into the future. However, what we can assure is that our Caribbean suppliers are very excited about this pilot program and its potential to increase business to the region,” Whitt added.
Whitt, who leads the marketing team at The Shore Club Turks and Caicos, which was recently named #1 Caribbean resort by Travel + Leisure readers, said that while the agents are in Nassau they will meet with executives from a cross-section of destinations and hotels, in addition to participating in site inspections with select hotels on the island.
The 2020 edition of Caribbean Travel Marketplace, slated for The Bahamas from January 21 to 23, 2020, is a collaboration with local partners Baha Mar, the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, and the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board.
The event will be held at Baha Mar’s Performing Arts and Convention Center, at one of the newest and most impressive resorts in the Caribbean.
There has been strong interest in buyer delegates with 225 delegates from 115 companies registered for the meetings from Australia, The Bahamas, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Portugal, Puerto Rico, The Russian Federation, Spain, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.
Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, this year’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace host sponsors are the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Baha Mar, and Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, while Platinum sponsors include ADARA; AMResorts; Figment Design; Interval International; Marketplace Excellence; Mastercard; STR; TravelClick, an Amadeus company; Travelzoo; U.S. Virgin Islands; and HM&B.
Gold sponsors are American Airlines, Best Western International, Caribbean Airlines, Caribbean Travel + Life powered by Islands, Caribbean Wellness & Education, HCP Media, playAWARDS, Questex Travel Group (Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor), Questex Travel & Meetings Events, Sojern, Symova, Travel Relations LLC, and TravPRO Mobile.
Silver sponsors are 7 Pillars Marketing on Demand; Arrivalist; BCV, a Rategain Company; Caribbean Journal; Condé Nast; Copa Airlines; Gamemasters Escape Solutions; interCaribbean Airways; Mitel; Northstar Travel Group; Pegasus; Saint Lucia Tourism Authority; SiteMinder; St. Martin / St. Maarten Tourist Office; Travel + Leisure | Blue Group Media; and TripAdvisor.