The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's annual Marketplace event, which takes place Jan. 18 to 20 at Gros Islet, St. Lucia, is expected to draw more than 1,000 delegates, which represents an increase of 6% over 2008's attendance, despite the depressed economy.

STL-SandalsGreekrender"It is clear by the increase in registrations that our members and partners are coming together to deal with the impact of the world's economic downturn and to develop solutions to move forward," said Alex Sanguinetti, CEO and director general of CHTA.

The Caribbean Marketplace 2009 event is being held for the first tim in St. Lucia this year, on the future site of the 220-room Greek Village at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, one of three Sandals' resorts on St. Lucia.

Set to open in 2011, the Greek Village will feature top room categories such as swim-up river suites, rondoval suites and 20 over-water bungalows, in which each 1,300-square-foot-wide bungalow unit will be perched on a deck leading down to the sea.

Dining options at the Greek Village will include a Kimonos restaurant and a sushi bar.

Meanwhile, the newest village in the Sandals' resort family opens Jan. 20 when the Italian Village at Beaches Turks and Caicos opens its doors.

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