Tourism forum nears

Tourism week under way

A series of seminars, marketing summits and workshops for the tourism industry begins on Monday, 2 May.

The expanded programme for the 2011 Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange runs through Friday, 6 May, with a variety of industry-specific discussions, talks and panels. Trina Christian, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, said this is the 10th year of the exchange.

“Typically, it has been a marketplace setting for suppliers to meet wholesalers. The wholesale world has changed over the years toward mostly online travel agents as well as traditional wholesalers who work directly with the airlines or LibGo. They mostly work with bookers, hotels and some condos whilst they are here as well as meeting with some transportation and watersports operators.

“We have a great schedule where we wine and dine wholesalers, show them around the island and give them updates – it is very valuable face time. The United States Department of Tourism will also be here, and it is incredibly important that people here meet with the guys in the States who are on the ground selling the Cayman Islands. They meet with travel agents, go to trade shows and have a host of mechanisms which they use. If they can be up to speed with what is going on in Cayman, they can align their strategies with that,” she said.

Tourism mode

Because everyone is in tourism mode and business mode, said Ms Christian, the week has been expanded to give tourism professionals the opportunity to discuss ideas, trends and an opportunity to talk about marketing.

That discussion takes place on Monday, 2 May, with a panel discussion and marketing summit on the ground floor of the Ogier Building in Camana Bay.

Private sector representatives will lead a debate between 1.30pm and 4.30pm to share marketing concepts and ideas.

“It’s early enough because people will start talking about 2012 media planning in the summer and we are asking our members how we should market the destination. There will be a panel discussion and a breakout brainstorming session and in that way we can capture as much input and information as possible so post-marketing summit we can organise it and present it to the government.”

Wednesday’s schedule includes a round table with the US Department of Tourism sales representatives to discuss how to maximise the partnership between the private and public sector sales and promotion aspect.

Structuring it this way may allow some out-of-the-box ideas to be presented by the marketing committee at an early stage, she added.

Workshops open

Tuesday, 3 May, and Wednesday, 4 May, offer a host of workshops, which are open to CITA members and non-members. The topics include social media, Twitter, public relations and media techniques, branding and how restaurants can survive in a tough economy.

Christine Karpinski will present a seminar on quick and easy ways to boost occupancy, and Chris Tripoli will speak to the restaurant sector. There will also be a seminar led by John Olivares of Leisure Link, and Brett Minzner, market manager of the Caribbean for Expedia, will talk about how to maximise bookings through that website.

“The seminar is not just for existing partners but also potential lodging partners in hotels, condos and villas,” said Ms Christian.

A wholesaler welcome reception is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, 4 May, and Thursday, 5 May, is marked by the opening ceremony, a presentation for wholesalers, and travel trade-show meetings. On Friday, 6 May, wholesalers will embark on site inspections and excursions to familiarise themselves with the Cayman tourism product.

Registration for all sessions is due by noon Monday, 2 May. To register for the workshops contact the Cayman Islands Tourism Association Office at 949-8522 or email [email protected]

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