As conference schedules go, it was an even draw for the Caribbean region last week: One conference got axed, and another conference was announced.
What went down: the first Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference, scheduled to take place in Barbados from June 1 to 3. Low registration sank that one.
Just announced: the Caribbean's first State of the Industry conference, set for Sept. 14 to 17 in St. Martin.
In a statement, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association said it scrapped the Barbados event because "the registration numbers were deemed too low to have resulted in a conference with the substance and character we had envisioned."
The plan was to host a high-level meeting for hoteliers, allied members of the CHTA and tourism officials across the region to examine challenges and trends for the Caribbean.
"Continuing with the conference would have resulted in disappointment and lack of value for those who had paid to attend, and an unsatisfactory audience for the high-quality speakers we had committed to deliver the program," the CHTA said.
Those speakers included Brian Payea, head of industry relations for TripAdvisor; Jean-Claude Baumgarten, a vice chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council; Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization; and Vernice Walkine, vice president for marketing and communications at the Nassau Airport Development Co.
The new event, sponsored by the CTO, actually is part two of a two-conference CTO plan.
For 30 years up through 2007, the CTO held its Caribbean Tourism Conference each fall. Three years after that event was discontinued, CTO introduced the Leadership Strategy Conference to replace the CTC.
The first Leadership Strategy Conference, which took place last October in Barbados, was planned to be held every other year and to coincide with the induction of a new CTO chairman, whose term of office is two years.
For the alternate year, the CTO came up with the State of the Industry conference.
This year's event will take a look at the current state of the Caribbean tourism industry, examine issues that affect the tourism sector and formulate plans for the future, according to the CTO.
The conference also will see the return of the Tourism Youth Congress, a component of the old CTC, in which Caribbean youth debate issues of concern to the industry.
The conference program will be announced shortly, and several sessions and workshops will be geared toward travel agents.