US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
Major Support for Caribbean Travel Marketplace in January
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association reports strong sponsor and delegate interest in the upcoming Caribbean Travel Marketplace to be held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan.
CHTA’s Director General Frank Comito said major airlines, tour operators, meeting planners, destinations, hotels and attractions have already signed up for the annual event where the Caribbean travel trade assembles to do business.
Following a meeting with the Host Committee in San Juan in December, Comito disclosed the overall year-over-year registration pace was encouraging, and assured that all systems were in order for the Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 event.
Produced by CHTA, Marketplace brings together hotel and destination representatives; online travel agents; tour operators; Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions planners; and members of the media.
“We were very encouraged by what we saw in Puerto Rico,” said Comito, who observed the metro area busily preparing for the opening of the winter season. “The strong recovery from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, is a testament to the spirit of the Puerto Rican people as they get their lives back on track and get ready to welcome tourists to the island,” he added, after observing firsthand numerous hotels and restaurants were already back in business and contributing to the economic resurgence of the U.S. territory. “They are ready for us and they are going to be even more ready on January 30 next year!”
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company reported in December that more than 100 hotels are open and operating. More than 4,000 restaurants are taking orders and serving up meals. Major tourism attractions island-wide have been cleaned up and restored.
“It’s been the continued collaboration with Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s team and tourism industry partners that has resulted in tremendous progress and we’re thrilled to be officially open for tourism,” said José Izquierdo, executive director of the PRTC. “Tourism is a vital contributor to the island’s economy, so reaching these milestones not only will help build a stronger, better Puerto Rico, but showcases the resiliency in our people and destination.”
Comito reported that registration for the region’s leading travel marketing event is only slightly behind pace compared with last year’s numbers, with more than 170 supplier companies, more than 50 buyer companies and close to 600 delegates already confirmed for the meeting. “With six weeks to go, we are on target to equal or surpass last year’s attendance,” he said, adding that next month’s event is shaping up to be “another incredible opportunity to kickstart the region’s marketing efforts for 2018 and beyond.”
The event opens on the evening of Jan. 30, preceded by educational sessions earlier in the day. For more information, visit www.chtamarketplace.com or call 305-443-3040. Details about registration can be found at https://www.chtamarketplace.com/registration-fees.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace, produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Meet Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association, is hosted by Interval International, JetBlue Vacations and Mastercard. Platinum Sponsors include ADARA, AMResorts, Cable & Wireless, CaribbeanWE, Condé Nast Traveler, Expedia, Figment Design, Hotels.com, Marketplace Excellence, OBMI, Orbitz, Sojern, STR, Travelocity and Travelzoo. American Airlines, ARDA-ROC, Best Western, Brides, Delta Air Lines, Destination Travel Network, Duetto, Northstar Meetings Group, Lexicon Travel Technologies, Martha Stewart Weddings, Prevue Meetings, Rainmaker, Recommend Magazine, Simpleview, Symova, The New York Times, Time Inc., TravelClick and Travel Channel have joined the event as gold sponsors.
Caribbean Hotels Reporting Strong Holiday Season
Holiday travelers are escaping to the Caribbean, with hotels in most destinations not impacted by this year’s hurricanes reporting occupancies in excess of 90 percent over the holiday season.
“More than 70 percent of the Caribbean was not impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and travelers are discovering the incredible diversity of destinations and offerings throughout the region as they explore its many vacation options,” stated Frank Comito, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association CEO and Director General,
CHTA canvassed a number of the region’s destinations in December to see how they are faring for the holidays and into the first quarter of 2018. The results are encouraging, according to Comito, who reports that a sampling of the region’s 32 holiday destinations all pointed to a surge in holiday bookings, and most indicated that forward bookings into the first quarter of 2018 are equaling or surpassing 2017.
Several destinations reported that a number of their hotels anticipate being sold out over the Christmas and New Year’s period. Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Cancun, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and The Bahamas all reported strong bookings, and Comito expects that most of the other destinations which were unaffected by the storms are experiencing similar booking levels.
Turks and Caicos Islands, which was one of the first hurricane-impacted destinations to rebound, fully recovering and opening within weeks following the storms, is reporting occupancies in excess of 90 percent over the holidays and strong first quarter bookings.
Puerto Rico announced in December that it is open for business, with many of the hotels in the popular coastal stretch in and around San Juan up and running and thousands of restaurants now operating.
CHTA will be bringing Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the region’s largest B2B marketing event, to Puerto Rico from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.
Comito advised prospective travelers that there is still an opportunity to book a last minute quick escape to the region over the holidays, and into the first quarter. Travelers are encouraged to visit www.caribbeantravelupdate.com for information about those destinations and hotels which are welcoming visitors.
“Now is a perfect time to visit and support the Caribbean and to see for yourselves how the resilience of our people offers travelers from around the world an exceptional experience – especially during this winter season and beyond,” said Comito.