NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Caribbean Hotel Association's Caribbean Marketplace 2008 is underway this week at Atlantis Paradise Island here, marking the seventh time that the annual conference has been hosted by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Hotel Association.

Peter Odle, CHA president, said that the 1,400 delegates in attendance "represent one of biggest Marketplace events to take place." The attendance figures include buyers, suppliers and more than 800 public- and private-sector tourism representatives from 36 Caribbean destinations.

Hubert Ingraham, prime minister of the Bahamas, challenged the Caribbean region "to remain competitive as a destination of choice for the reduced number of U.S. travelers who will, no doubt, in 2008 be focused on value for their shrinking dollars more than ever before."

Although tourism figures were flat for most of the region last year, Ingraham said that the Bahamas and other destinations "have been encouraged by signs of a reversal in this trend in the closing months of 2007 and we remain optimistic for 2008."

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected].

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