THE WINDS OF
CHANGE shaping the face of Caribbean business -- the
Internet revolution, social values, demography and competition --
came under scrutiny at the keynote session of the annual Caribbean
Hotel Industry Conference, sponsored by the Caribbean Hotel
Association held in Miami from June 25 to 28. During the session,
moderator Peter Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Yesawich, Pepperdine,
Brown & Russell, noted the rise in Internet usage of U.S.
travelers, up from 10% 10 years ago to 85% in 2006 and a lively
round of debate followed. The rise of the Internet is the single
most important event since the jet airplane, said Vincent
Vanderpool-Wallace, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism
Organization. We, in the Caribbean tourism industry, need to mirror
what is happening in the marketplace. Hudson Husbands, chairman of
the Barbados Tourism Authority partner in Tourism Global, a
professional services firm specializing in the hospitality and
tourism industry throughout the Caribbean, acknowledged that the
Caribbean is losing ground in this area and is slipping in relation
to the natural competition in the marketplace. Agreeing with
tourism leaders was Ewart Brown, Bermudas minister of tourism and
transport. Were going to be late if we dont hurry up. We cant be
observers to changes; we have to play. Brown advocated closing
tourism offices, stop paying rent and go virtual. Frank van der
Post, senior vice president, the Americas, Jumierah hotels, added
People today are impatient. Any Website has to be easy to manage
and navigate with a maximum of three clicks.
IN OTHER CHIC
NEWS, Berthia Parle stepped down as CHA president, a post
she held for the past two years, and passed the baton to Peter
Odle, general manager of Mango Bay Hotel in Barbados. Parles legacy
as the first female head in the organizations history is that I
have built a solid foundation and I feel that the partnerships
formed with the CTO, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association and
the European Union have helped bridge the great tourism divide.
Parle said she regrets that she does not see another woman in CHAs
rank and file ascending to the CHA top post anytime
YORK-BASED ALKEN TOURS was named the official tour
operator for the 2007 Cricket World Cup West Indies Series taking
place on six Caribbean islands from March 15 to April 23, 2007.
Cricket is the lifeblood of the West Indian sporting world, and we
are pleased to bring this event to our U.S. customers, said Alken
president and CEO Patricia Lawrence-Haughton. Sample packages
include accommodations with taxes and service fees, airport
transfers, match tickets and roundtrip transfers to the matches.
Play will take place on St. Kitts, Trinidad, Grenada, Barbados,
Jamaica and St. Lucia. For package details, visit www.alkentours.com.
TOURISM AUTHORITY made some high-level changes at its U.S.
operations, headquartered in New York. Bill Silvermintz, BTAs vice
president of marketing and sales, U.S., for the past four years, is
no longer with the BTA on a full-time basis, effective June
14. Silvermintz will work with the BTA on
a consulting basis through December with a specific focus on the
Barbados World Cup stop on the PGA World Golf Championships tour,
which is set for Dec. 4 to 10 in Barbados. During his BTA tenure,
Silvermintz spearheaded the successful Best of Barbados vacation
package. Until a replacement for Silvermintz is named, Stuart
Layne, BTAs president and CEO, will oversee the U.S. market and
will manage it from BTAs Bridgetown, Barbados, headquarters.
Assisting Layne in the overall management of the U.S. operation
will be Averil Byer, BTAs director of marketing in Bridgetown.
Layne said that the BTA is seeking to fill [Silvermintzs] position
quickly. We are confident that the interim arrangements which have
been put in place will allow for a seamless transition.
NOTE: Beginning in July, the Caribbean e-letter will be
published every other Tuesday, beginning with the July 4
Phone: (201) 902-1591
opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].