CANCUN, Mexico -- A record 1,900 delegates, including 495
buyers, attended the 18th annual Caribbean Hotel Association
Marketplace '98 here Jan. 9 to 11. It was the third consecutive
year that the event was held in Cancun.
Marketplace '99 will move to the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in
San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island,
the Bahamas, will host the gathering in 2000.
CHA president John Jefferis outlined for delegates the
organization's top priorities for 1998. They include:An enhanced CHA Web site.Specialized conferences.Further development of strong environmental measures through
the Caribbean Action for Sustainable Tourism initiative.The growth of strategic alliances.Continued emphasis on upgrading and improving hotels.
An informal poll of hoteliers representing 35 national hotel
associations, 1,100 member properties and 120,000 rooms reflected
optimism for the current winter season. High occupancies were cited
by a number of tourism officials, including those from the Bahamas,
Cancun and the Turks & Caicos. St. Martin representatives said
that restaurant reservations are running at an all-time high this
winter, while Antigua hoteliers reported increased inquiries from
Many CHA members cited the development of air charter sources as
a priority item, especially during peak season, when scheduled
flights are full and fares are high. The U.S.Virgin Islands, for
example, has eight charter operators serving the destination this
winter. "What good are our hotels if we cannot get our clients to
the island?" Tom Cornwall, director of sales at Renaissance Grand
Beach Resort on St. Thomas, asked. "We're using charters to
guarantee that our clients have air access to our destination and
our hotels," he said.
In other news at the event:American Airlines announced it will begin service from Miami to
Cozumel, Mexico, April 5 with a daily roundtrip flight.CHA said it will host the second Caribbean Hotel & Tourism
Investment Conference from March 25 to 27 in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Speakers will include Percival J. Patterson, prime minister of
Jamaica; Paul A. Nussbaum, chairman and chief executive officer of
Patriot American Hospitality, and Doug G. Geoga, president of Hyatt
Hotels Corp.The annual Caribbean Hospitality Industry Conference is set for
June 14 to 18 at Radisson Cable Beach Resort in Nassau, the
Bahamas.Jamaica-based SuperClubs broke ground on its 225-room Hedonism
III resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, which will feature Jamaica's
first "swim-up" rooms; opening is set for early 1999. Breezes'
resorts begin construction this year in Negril, Jamaica, as well as
on St. Lucia and St. Kitts. SuperClubs' 250-room Jibacoa opens in
Cuba next November, bringing the chain's total room count on the
island to 1,254 rooms in six properties.Dominican Republic-based Viva Resorts, with inclusive
properties in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, will
open a fourth resort in May in Playacar, Mexico.
The firm also is expanding its room count in its existing