Bridgetown, Barbados – The Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) made a fantastic showing at the CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Barbados.
Set in the capital city of Bridgetown, Marketplace 41 was a thrilling convergence of the region’s vibrant tourism product on full display for travel buyers from all over the world.
This year, the Turks & Caicos delegation included TCHTA executives and members, Honourable Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism, and team members from the Ministry of Tourism and Tourist Board.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace, produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), is a highly anticipated regional event and is no typical tradeshow. The 3-day showcase includes a Travel Forum, Media presentations, and a bustling showroom floor. The region’s tourism sector is positioned to share its vast offerings to global buyers, and hear from leaders on the state of the industry and the CHTA’s goals for the growth of the regional product.
As the region’s most significant and largest marketing event, Marketplace remains an important date on the calendar for many TCHTA member properties. H20 Life.Style.Resort, Ocean Club Resorts, Royal West Indies, Sailrock Resort, Seven Stars, The Palms, The Sands, and The Shore Club were among those in the busy showroom at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
First-time attendee, Julie Boulet of H20, shared, “As a new boutique hotel, it was important for us to be a part of this event and present our beautiful product to the industry”. Julie continued, “Marketplace was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to meet amazing people from the hospitality industry and grow our network. We are in communication with many different companies, and already working on partnerships.” When asked if H20 would attend the event in the future, Julie confirmed, “It was our first, but it will certainly not be our last!”
Marketplace 41, hosted by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, saw many unforgettable inclusions – an address by beloved Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, and their first-ever drone show being high on the list.
“One could hear a pin drop as the Prime Minister addressed the room,” said Stacy Cox, TCHTA CEO. “Her words and admonishments were poignant and ideal for where we are in tourism as a region today.” Cox said Mottley presented the tourism leaders with a solemn charge, “‘Will we be shapers or takers?’ This is what she asked everyone in the room to give introspection to,” Cox recounted. “She encouraged us not to settle for business as usual, but to use the advancements available to focus on the sustainability that our countries will need in order to lessen their external dependencies for the benefit of the people, and the generations to follow.”
Another critical segment of Marketplace is the robust press contingent the event attracts. Media from Barbados and the Caribbean, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Latin America were in attendance this year.
Honourable Josephine Connolly introduced journalists to the newly-launched “Experience Turks & Caicos” Destination Marketing and Management Organization (DMMO), now poised to take the country’s brand to the next level. Flanked by Permanent Secretary Wesley Clerveaux and TCHTA CEO Stacy Cox, the Minister wowed the packed room as she described the vision of connecting the global travel community with the intimate side of the Turks & Caicos experience.
By all accounts, attendants have left Marketplace 41 energized and poised for a strong year ahead. “What a spectacular weekend this was!” shared Karen Whitt, CHTA Marketplace Chair and TCHTA Marketing Chair. “Industry suppliers and buyers are all very excited. As usual, Turks & Caicos is the buzz, and I’m happy that our presence is felt every year. With the important negotiations and connections that are made at CHTA Marketplace, it would be a disadvantage if Brand TCI was not represented”.
When asked about the overall experience with this year’s host country, Whitt said, “Phenomenal. Just phenomenal! We must congratulate the BTMI and BHTA teams for a well-planned and beautifully executed event. So many unforgettable moments prove the Caribbean is heads above the rest in tourism. The culture and warmth of the people were on display in Barbados, and we cannot thank them enough for hosting.”
Whitt shared that TCHTA member and leading airline interCaribbean Airways was a first-time Platinum Sponsor for the prestigious event. “interCaribbean is celebrated regionally for their remarkable accomplishments. It was wonderful to see them displayed everywhere as a platinum sponsor this year. The country should certainly be proud.”
Jamaica was announced as the host country for CHTA Marketplace 42 which takes place in Spring 2024.