On the calendar: Caribbean groups plan confabs for 2008

The Caribbean Hotel Association's Caribbean Marketplace 2008 is set for Jan. 13 to 15 at Atlantis Paradise Island in Nassau, marking the seventh time that the annual conference has been hosted by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation and the Bahamas Hotel Association.

More than 300 buyers are registered for the conference to date, surpassing registration figures for the same period last year. The buyers include wholesalers, incentive and group operators, meetings planners and dive shop owners from around the world.

Close to 800 public- and private- sector tourism representatives from 36 Caribbean destinations also have registered for Marketplace.

The event serves as a one-stop venue for face-to-face meetings between buyers and suppliers representing inns, guest houses, villas, time-shares, all-inclusives and hotel chains throughout the Caribbean to discuss existing contracts, package development and future business contacts.

A Matchmaker appointment scheduling process matches buyer and supplier requests.

For registration details, visit www.caribbeanhotelassociation.com.

Meanwhile, the sustainability of the Caribbean coastal product will be the focus of the 10th annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development to be held in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, from Aril 28 to May 1.

The host hotel is Beaches Turks and Caicos, a Green Globe-certified property.

The conference theme of "Keeping the Right Balance -- Sustaining the Caribbean Coastal Product" is in keeping with the designation of 2008 as International Year of the Reef by the International Coral Reef Initiative, an organization devoted to protecting coral reefs and related ecosystems worldwide.

"Given that the region's tourism development is largely coastal, there are a number of key issues that affect the sustainability of the region's tourism, such as climate change, disaster risk management, cruise tourism and marine-based attractions," said Mareba Scott, the Caribbean Tourism Organization's sustainable tourism product specialist.

The conference program will include study tours in the destination, including a visit to a conch farm.

For conference details, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected].

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