NEW YORK — At a marketing forum during Caribbean Week here, keynoter Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of the Atmosphere Research Group, predicted more airline mergers “among smaller U.S. airlines.”

Harteveldt also said that “we may see a couple of new hubs,” and that startup PeoplExpress "offers the potential to serve the Caribbean."

He said that to attract more airlift, destinations “have to put together a strong pitch involving all entities from the economic development commission on the island to local businesses, hotel owners, consultants and all tourism officials, backed up by strong research.”

“Of course, incentives are usually expected,” he added.

The following are other happenings at Caribbean Week, an annual event in New York sponsored by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

• The CTO, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association and Caribbean Public Health Agency partnered to establish and promote improved health and safety practices in tourism.

“As the Caribbean’s principle economic earner, the tourism sector must be vigilant and proactive regarding health and safety issues that can adversely affect the health of our tourism workforce or that of our visitors,” said Hugh Riley, CTO secretary general.

• Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, drew a standing-room only crowd at the Student Colloquiem. He advised students, agents and tourism officials that “our industry is by nature designed to create dreams and memories. People expect more today than they have ever expected before. We've got to be better. Teamwork, humility, attitude, get up every day, work hard, rock 'n' roll and I promise you, you'll be successful."

• Stewart’s father, Butch Stewart, Sandals chairman and founder, was presented with the 2014 Invest Caribbean Now leadership award. The award was given by Felicia Persaud, founder of Hard Beat Communications, which partners with companies working with the Caribbean diaspora in the U.S. and Canada.

• Destination weddings were brought to life at the Romance Pavilion, where wedding specialists dispensed tips, advised on trips and showcased bridal fashions.

• Chefs from throughout the Caribbean displayed their wares, talents and recipes at venues throughout Manhattan, including Bloomingdales, Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods and on the sidewalks of New York.

• The strength and reach of social media cannot be ignored, according to Susan Black, senior partner/co-founder of the Black and Wright Group. "Visuals carry 90% more impact than text. Give your brand on upscale identity, encourage guests to post photos from your hotel, make it possible for them to check in via WiFi while they are in the air. Do all you can via social media to make your guests feel special."

• Alexandra Otway-Noel, Grenada's minister for tourism, civil aviation and culture, said Grenada will host a region-wide symposium on sustainable travel from July 9 to 11.

• Visitor arrivals to the Caribbean region are up 6% year-over-year; hotel revenue per available room and average daily rate also are up, according to CTO.

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