Karen Whitt, Chairman of Caribbean Travel Marketplace, and Executive Committee Member of Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), which organizes the annual leading marketing event in the region, said that based on partner feedback, Marketplace, traditionally held in late January, will be postponed to late April-early May 2021. “This will be a time when travel partners and members will be more flexible with travel plans, and hopefully we will have more clarity on the effects and future of the pandemic,” she reported.
Whitt acknowledged the devastating impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis forced CHTA to seek creative options for hosting the 39th edition of Caribbean Travel Marketplace. “Caribbean Travel Marketplace intends to deliver the same benefits, values and principles for which we have become known with the qualities that embody the charm of the region,” Whitt added.
The Marketplace planning committee canvassed travel partners, members, destination representatives, CHTA officers and others for feedback on the best approach for producing the first Caribbean Travel Marketplace since the beginning of the pandemic.
Whitt, an accomplished Turks and Caicos hotelier, who serves as Vice-President Sales and Marketing at The Hartling Group, reported unequivocal support for an in-person Marketplace in 2021: “Resoundingly, the collective feedback indicates a desire for us to be together in person, rather than virtual. We considered many options and have come to the conclusion that the only way to truly showcase the uniqueness of our people, history, culture, food, music and magic of the Caribbean is to actually be together in the Caribbean.”
She added: “As we plan for the region’s largest gathering of travel suppliers and buyers, we are hopeful that we will be able in short order to announce one very special destination which will rise to the occasion of playing host to CTM 39, attracting key travel partners, Destination Marketing Organizations, CHTA members, and media from around the world.”