CHA taps St. Lucia as host of 2009 Caribbean Marketplace

St. Lucia won the bid to host the Caribbean Hotel Association's annual Caribbean Marketplace in January 2009, marking the first time that this major conference, which was attended by more than 1,500 delegates in Aruba in 2007, will be held in the eastern Caribbean.

The 2008 Marketplace event is set for Jan. 13 to 15 at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Winning the venue for St. Lucia was a collaborative effort on the part of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, (SLHTA), the St. Lucia Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Allen Chastenat, St. Lucia's minister of tourism and civil aviation, revealed the successful bid at a St. Lucia government reception held in London during the recent World Travel Market.

"We are truly grateful that the CHA has demonstrated confidence in St. Lucia and our local hotel and tourism association to allow us to host the Caribbean Marketplace," Chastanet said.

The timing of the event is "just perfect" as it will allow St. Lucia "to showcase our plans for an additional 2,200 rooms and four major championship golf courses," according to Colin Hunte, SLHTA president.

These new rooms will be found in big-name hotel brands, which are unfurling their flags for the first time over St. Lucia, such as Ritz-Carlton, RockResorts and Westin, as well as smaller boutique properties such as the 42-room all-inclusive Le Paradis Beach, Golf & Marina.

For conference information, visit www.caribbeanhotelassociation.com; for destination information, visit www.stlucia.org.

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

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