Major tourism forum gears up

The Caribbean’s premier hotel and tourism conference takes place in Montego Bay from 10 to 12 May.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference is considered a vital part of the sector’s schedule, said Tim Grace, director of marketing and commerce at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.

“It’s in its 15th year and obviously stands the test of time; we have top speakers and statistics about what is going on in the industry, how the industry is faring and what is in the pipeline for the future. It covers the whole gamut of the industry, from architecture to bankers, timeshare and everybody who is into the business end of the business.”

The conference attracts government officials, investors, lenders, architects, planners, construction companies, financial organisations, real estate/mortgage intermediaries, developers, hoteliers, industry officials and other tourism entities.

“Potential delegates from the Cayman Islands can take advantage of direct flights from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay to meet with investors and other delegates conducting business in the Caribbean,” added Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.

Unique opportunity

The conference presents a unique opportunity for tourism industry stakeholders to connect with movers and shakers of the region, said Mr. Grace.

“At this moment, credit is difficult to get so there are sessions on different decisions to make about which hotel to buy, whether to go fractional or not, all these issues and types of hotels. Some of the best presentations you see will be happening at this show.”

The event opens during the evening of Tuesday, 10 May. Sessions on Wednesday, 11 May, include The Caribbean Now And The Future: Tourism Is Key; The Hospitality Leaders Forum; Understanding The Economics And Profitability Of All-Inclusive Resorts; Gaming and Casinos and plenty of networking opportunities for delegates.

The agenda for Thursday, 12 May, includes The Caribbean Ministers Of Tourism Forum; Build Or Buy – Determining the Best Investment trategy in Today’s Marketplace; Arrivals and Survival Strategies – The Changing Face of Distribution and Shared Ownership – Applications and Opportunities for a Revitalized Caribbean Tourism Product.

Montego Bay

During the 2010 conference, which was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cayman was represented by a number of people, including Trina Christian of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, consultant Tom McCallum, Dragon Bay developer Michael Ryan, Mark Vandevelde, Jim Lammers and Justin Howe of Dart Realty (Cayman), as well as James Bergstrom and William Peguero of the National Investment Council and Premier McKeeva Bush.

There was talk at the time of bringing the 2011 event to Cayman but in the end it went to the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Jamaica.

Building on the momentum achieved in recent years with a growing interest in Caribbean tourism development, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference is staged by two not-for-profit organisations – the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association represents the regional hotel and tourism associations and Caribbean Tourism Organization is the public sector tourism body which represents the countries of the region. All funds from the conference are being reinvested in the region for the benefit of the Caribbean tourism industry.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference was founded by Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization in 1997 with the specific objectives of improving the tourism investment and operating climate in the Caribbean, raising awareness of development opportunities and stimulating a continuing flow of equity and loan capital into the region.

For more information on the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference 2011, contact the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association at 305-443-3040 or email [email protected]