nsider offers tidbits from speeches delivered at the recent Caribbean Tourism Conference in Barbados:

  • At the opening speech, Jean Holder, the secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, decided it was better to take the offensive from the get-go. "If any of you encounter organizational glitches at this conference, I offer my apologies up front to blunt any problems later."
  • Billie Miller, acting prime minister of Barbados, described the current environment within the world of the Web as uneven. "I have never seen a level playing field in my life and I never expect to."
  • Keynote speaker Terry Jones, president and chief executive officer of Travelocity, was preceded by Miller, local singer/entertainer John King and a choral group of youngsters from Barbados.
  • "A public-speaking lesson I learned early in life was to not follow little children, great singers and a prime minister to the podium. I am in that situation now. Judge me later," he said.

  • Andrew McKee, chairman and chief information officer of Vacation.com, was the last of four speakers at a long morning session on technology.
  • His opening remark assured delegates that the end was in sight.

    "The only thing that stands between my presentation and your lunch is me, so I'll try and be as quick as I can."

    ...CTC first aid

    Reporters covering conferences get used to being herded in groups, especially to and from interviews conducted in meeting rooms with a slew of conference organizers or keynote speakers.

    The term We usually have a room designated for our use between interviews where we file our stories, make phone calls or trade gossip.

    These are generally called press rooms.

    So, Insider did a double take and had a good laugh when she saw the designation for the media gathering spot at a recent conference.

    The fact the room description was right above the First Aid sign wasn't lost on her either.

    She could almost hear the stampede behind her.

    ... more from CTC

    Managing change in the 21st century was the theme of the tourism conference.

    General sessions, workshops and many speeches filled the daylight hours; nighttime was a round of parties, cocktail receptions and buffet lines.

    So it wasn't unusual to see delegates nodding off at times during the day in the midst of long-winded speeches.

    No, the credit card is not real. The pie, however, is.However, during an afternoon presentation on human resource management issues in the Caribbean tourism sector, one delegate did more than catnap.

    He fell sound asleep and toppled off his chair directly onto the rug in the center aisle.

    He awoke quickly, but was obviously disoriented when he opened his eyes and found himself on all fours.

    Sheepishly, he got to his feet and fled for the nearest exit.

    As he left the room, which was filled now with uncontrollable laughter, he turned, waved to the audience and said, "Good night."

    That effectively ended the presentation.

    ... and in the air

    Insider thought she'd heard all sorts of excuses for food service -- or lack of it -- on Caribbean flights.

    However, she was proved wrong on a recent morning flight from San Juan to one of the islands.

    She'd been assured by the gate agent prior to boarding that breakfast was included.

    Insider knew it would not be steak and eggs.

    In all probability it would be the cold cereal-frozen banana-yogurt combo she'd grown to know -- not necessarily love.

    Midway through the flight, a bag of fried plantains landed on her tray table.

    "Is this it? Why no meal?" she asked the flight attendant.

    The answer: "It's low season."

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