SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- The 23rd annual Caribbean
Tourism Conference held here late last month drew about 800
delegates, including 300 U.S. travel agents. Workshops and general
sessions revolved around the conference theme of millennium
strategies for Caribbean tourism.
CTC-24 is scheduled for mid-October next year, a departure from
the regular mid-September date due to a conflict with the annual
ASTA congress in Seville, Spain. The venue next year is Barbados,
where, it is hoped, the opening speeches will be given in
At this year's conference, the welcome address by Felix Jimenez,
minister of tourism for the Dominican Republic, and the opening
speech by Jaime David Fernandez, vice president, were delivered in
Spanish with no translations supplied then or later.
Keynote speaker Chris Mottershead, managing director of Airtours
Holidays in the U.K., traced the growth of Caribbean tourism and
the changes in the industry in the past 30 years. "Customer
expectations and wants must be met and delivered," Mottershead
"Competition is intense, and our customers have many other
travel options available." Tourists expect such basics as decent
roads, drinkable water, regular garbage collection and airports
with modern facilities.
The U.K. speaker raised more than a few eyebrows when he decried
the increase of scheduled air services from the U.K. to the
Caribbean over charter operations. He claimed that the increase
made it unprofitable for his firm to do (charter) business in the
Caribbean tourism officials have long lobbied for additional
scheduled services to the region, particularly from the U.S.
Scheduled airlift this winter season to the Caribbean reflects a
substantial increase over last year because several more carriers
are in the lineup with new flights or expanded schedules.
Rebutting Mottershead's remarks, Air Jamaica's Allen M.
Chastanet, vice president of marketing and sales, said that Air
Jamaica "will not be swayed by charter company Airtours' threat to
reduce or cancel service to Caribbean destinations that have
encouraged additional growth from scheduled carriers."