CI strong at marketplace

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism had a strong presence at this year’s Caribbean Marketplace, an event that sets the year rolling with its travel wholesalers.

Caribbean Marketplace in Puerto Rico

DoTs Manager Marketing and Promotions (Europe and Canada) Oneisha Richards (front, left) and Partnership Marketing Coordinator Airline & Wholesalers Jahaira Goodwin work together while in the background Manager Public Relations Kathryn Jackson and Manager, Marketing & Promotions (US) Shomari Scott consult together at Caribbean Marketplace in Puerto Rico.

According to Donald Foste, senior manager Sales and Marketing Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the Caribbean Marketplace is one of the only venues at which all the travel wholesale and distribution channels are under one roof.

‘It gives us a chance to see what they’ve done in the past year and what they will be doing in the coming year.’

The DoT can then leverage their advertising in order to help increase business to the Cayman Islands.

‘This is the beginning of our negotiating for the fiscal year,’ he said.

Mr. Foste explained that the Cayman Islands keeps a small number of wholesalers – 12 – and meeting at this one venue allows for meeting them all so that when they visit Cayman for the Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange the ball has already begun to roll and they feel comfortable speaking to the various properties and moving forward.

The Department of Tourism was joined at the Caribbean Marketplace by Vice President Sales and Marketing for Cayman Airways, Mr. Rick Blake. He echoed Mr. Foste’s views on the marketplace.

‘It’s my third year in a row here and each one seems to get better than the next. It’s an ideal opportunity for us to meet the major wholesaler suppliers at one time, under one roof,’ he said.

As wholesalers are constantly travelling, a set time and place under one roof is the perfect environment to meet, rather than trying to match up calendars at random, explained Mr. Foste, who added that it could take four to six months to arrange to meet up otherwise.

Another plus is that the Cayman Islands gets the chance to figure out what the competition is up to, and get an analysis of competitor attractions and packages, said Mr. Blake.

Mr. Foste noted that the presence of the private sector gives the destination more credibility and power and allows the wholesalers to be more proactive.

Cayman Islands properties at the event were The Reef Resort and The Westin Casuarina Resort, Grand Cayman. Also at the show, but not focusing specifically on the Cayman Islands, were the Marriott, Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton Resorts in the Caribbean.

This year’s Caribbean Marketplace in Puerto Rico saw 1,454 delegates at the conference, with a total of 11,440 appointments.