JIS News

There were a record number of business appointments made between tourism buyers and sellers at Caribbean Marketplace 2005 and the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) is projecting that the results of business deals struck during the three-day event will become apparent as early as the summer, and more so during the 2005/2006 winter season.
Addressing a press conference at the closing of the event at the Half Moon Village on Tuesday (January 11), Alec Sanguinetti, Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CHA, said that Caribbean Marketplace 2005 was very successful, with over 1,500 delegates in attendance.
“How we judge whether Marketplace was successful or not is by the number of appointments, that is what this event is all about. Last year, the computer scheduled 10,120 appointments, this year 11,034, an increase of 914 more appointments by the computer, ” he explained.
Mr. Sanguinetti added, “of course, you add to that the appointments made by buyers and suppliers after the computer run and that 914 could easily go up another 500 appointments”.
He pointed out that based on feedback from both buyers and suppliers at the event, all indications were that a great deal of business was transacted.
Turning his attention to the performance of the tourism industry throughout the Caribbean in 2004, Mr. Sanguinetti said that up to September, the region was up eight per cent overall in visitor arrivals and should end the year at about six per cent overall despite the interruptions caused by recent hurricanes. He stated that the performance for the year was “outstanding and confirms that the region is back in business”.
CHA President, Berthis Parle, pointed out that the growth patterns within the tourism sector had continued from 2002 through to 2004 and indications were that the trend should carry on into 2005. “The Caribbean is hot and en vogue,” she stated.
Speaking on the effects of the hurricane season on the tourism trade within the region, she emphasized that the impact was short-lived. “I sensed that it only affected the month of September, because what we saw was that immediately after that, from October/November, the islands rebounded really nicely, and I guess this shows the resilience of Caribbean tourism,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Parle informed that out of the CHA’s 125,000 rooms, less than 2,000 were affected by the hurricanes. She observed that the tourism trade in Grenada, one of the islands worst hit by hurricanes last year, “was coming back slowly but surely” with approximately 500 rooms now available, and efforts were being made to increase this amount.
An annual event organized by the CHA, Caribbean Marketplace 2005 was staged at the Half Moon Village in Rose Hall from January 9 to 11. A total of 403 tourism interests throughout the region displayed their wares and conducted businesses under a 42,000-square foot marquee, which was erected on the property.

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