Travel Weeklys Caribbean E-letter: June 29, 2006

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 soon.

 

NEW 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.

THE BARBADOS 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.

SPECIAL NOTE: Beginning in July, the Caribbean e-letter will be published every other Tuesday, beginning with the July 4 edition.

Caribbean Editor:

Gay Nagle Myers

Phone: (201) 902-1591

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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