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Record-Breaking Attendance at Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2024 Highlights the Region’s Growing Tourism Sector

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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (June 4, 2024) – The 42nd Annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace (CTM), organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), has concluded on a high note, reaching record-breaking attendance numbers. This year’s event, held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from May 20-23, 2024, has been hailed as one of the most successful in the history of CTM, reflecting the strong interest and investment in Caribbean tourism.

This year’s Marketplace saw participation from 137 traditional buyer companies representing 25 countries, with a total of 271 delegates. This included 38 hosted buyers from countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Poland, Romania, Sweden, the UK, and the U.S.

Additionally, there were 14 MICE companies, six wedding specialist organizations, 10 travel advisor agencies, and 50 members of the regional and international media. The event also featured 207 supplier companies representing 27 Caribbean destinations, with a total of 682 delegates. CTM facilitated a record-breaking 12,724 scheduled appointments and a total delegate count of 1,200.

“We are thrilled with the unprecedented turnout and the positive feedback from participants,” said Nicola Madden-Greig, President of CHTA. “The record-breaking attendance underscores the resilience and allure of the Caribbean as a premier travel destination. It also highlights the collaborative spirit of our industry stakeholders. Special thanks to the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association who are dedicated to promoting and enhancing the region’s tourism sector.”

This year’s Marketplace introduced several inaugural elements, including the Caribbean MICE Exchange, which featured a dedicated track for meeting planners, and Responsible Tourism Day, which contributed positively to the host community and served as a valuable platform for learning, collaboration and commitment to sustainable tourism practices.

The event also spotlighted innovative exhibits highlighting the latest advancements in hospitality technology and unique Caribbean experiences. Numerous networking opportunities facilitated meaningful connections and partnerships among attendees, fostering a collaborative environment for future growth.

Jamaica pulled out all the stops, showcasing the island’s rich culture with captivating performances by former “The Voice” winner Tessanne Chin and reggae musician Maxi Priest. Their electrifying acts highlighted Jamaica’s vibrant music scene and artistic talent, leaving attendees with unforgettable memories of the island’s cultural heritage. The opening event was further enhanced by a spectacular drone show, which dazzled the audience and added a modern touch to the celebration of Jamaica’s traditions.

The success of this year’s event is a testament to the Caribbean’s enduring appeal and its capacity to adapt and thrive in a competitive global market. As the region continues to flourish, CHTA remains committed to supporting and advancing the interests of its members and the broader tourism community.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace was sponsored and supported by the following:

  • Destination Partners: Barbados, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, and U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Platinum Sponsors: Figment Design, Interval International, Marketplace Excellence, Mastercard, Sandals Resorts International, and Travelzoo
  • Gold Sponsors: Adara, Amadeus, Caribbean Journal, My Booking Rewards, TAConnect, Tambourine, and The Anything Group (TAG)
  • Silver Sponsor: Sojern
  • Accommodation Sponsors: Deja Resort, Half Moon Jamaica, Hilton Rose Hall, Holiday Inn Resort Jamaica, Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Rose Hall, Iberostar Rose Hall, Jewel Grande Montego Bay, SeaGarden Beach Resort, Royal Decameron Montego Beach, Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach, S Hotel, and Secrets St. James Montego Bay
  • Contributors: Condé Nast, Tripadvisor, and Zartico
  • Responsible Tourism Day Sponsors: BirdShack Fried Chicken and Yummy
  • Caribbean MICE Exchange: Half Moon, Iberostar Grand Rose Hall, Jamaica Tours Limited, and S Hotel

“We are immensely grateful to our sponsors for their invaluable support in making this year’s Marketplace a resounding success,” said Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of CHTA. “Their commitment and collaboration have been instrumental in showcasing the best of our region and fostering meaningful connections within the industry. We extend our heartfelt thanks to each of them for their dedication to promoting Caribbean tourism.”

 

Captions:

Header: Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, and CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, enjoyed exploring the various stands at Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Jamaica last month.

1st insert: Marketplace delegates discussing Caribbean tourism business opportunities.

2nd insert: Reggae superstar Maxi Priest delivered an exhilarating performance at Sandals Montego Bay to close Marketplace 42.

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Bahamas News

Minister Moxey says AAM2024 is significant to the country

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – Making an address on the first day of Afreximbank’s Annual Meetings (AAM) and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2024 on Wednesday, June 12, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey pointed out the significance of the meetings in The Bahamas, and the impact on Grand Bahama.

It is the first time AAM is held in the Caribbean region.  The 31st AAM sessions run June 12 – 14, 2024 at Baha Mar Resort, Cable Beach.  The theme for the event is: “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa.”

She said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this AAM and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum is critical for nurturing the relationship we have intentionally progressed over the last few years, including the historic signing between Afreximbank and CARICOM, unlocking an astounding $1.5 billion in funding; the many trade missions between both regions; and tomorrow the signing of a Project Preparation Facility with Afreximbank and the Government of The Bahamas on the development of an Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center on Grand Bahama Island – my island — a magnificent center for the promotion of tourism, commerce and trade between both regions.

“As we contemplate the historical ties that bind us, may we recognize the significant role of trade and the immense opportunities that lie before us.

“Trade has always been the lifeblood of economies, and as we join hands to explore new avenues, great things will happen.”

Minister Moxey continued, “The Bahamas, with its strategic location and well-established infrastructure, stands as a gateway…and it is at the crossroads of two-way trade.

“Our beautiful country has emerged as a major transshipment terminal, facilitating the seamless flow of goods and creating linkages across continents.”

The Caribbean region is focused on trade and investment opportunities with Africa, and the meeting in Nassau demonstrates the importance of the matter, she said.

In closing, she said, “The Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center will not only boost economic growth but also strengthen the bonds of friendship and cultural understanding between both regions.”

 

PHOTO CAPTION

1st insert –  At the Welcome Reception for Afreximbank’s 31st Annual Meetings (AAM 2024) at Baha Mar Resort, Wednesday, Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Ginger Moxey, at podium, gives an address on the importance of the meetings.

2nd insert – In photos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper chats with Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley.

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs and Eric Rose)

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Caribbean News

Caribbean Central Bank Governors agree to NEW Trade Regime for ease of doing business

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 18, 2024 – Regional Central Bank Governors have agreed to implement a system that allows countries in the Caribbean to trade using each other’s currencies without a third-party currency.

Making the disclosure, Governor of the Barbados Central Bank, Kevin Greenidge who is also the Chairman of the CARICOM Central Bank Governors, said it will be a version of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) which was launched by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in January 2022 to reduce reliance on hard currencies like the US dollar for transactions between African nations.

Once it is replicated in the Caribbean, the system could allow goods and services to be paid for directly in the currencies of the respective CARICOM nations involved, rather than being settled in a third currency like the US dollar, arguing thatg the payment system would reduce transaction costs, minimise the need for holding substantial foreign currency reserves, facilitate smoother intra-regional trade and lead to lower retail prices for consumers.

Noting that the decision was unanimous, Mr. Greenidge said “we just had a meeting in May, and we agreed to push ahead with the pilot programme and we have a technical team working out some of the kinks, how to move ahead with the programme. We are approaching that as soon as possible,” he said while addressing the recent AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024), at the Baha Mar Convention Centre in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Central banker who once served as the senior economist who supervised Barbados’ economic restructuring programme for the International Monetary Fund, before taking up the Governor’s job in March 2023, argued that “If we get with one voice and start to speak to these things, call for reforming the way the rating agencies view and assess our position, including debt, we will then make a difference,” he told his audience.

Adding further, he said the region can get where it wants on its own, as he urged both regions to speak with one voice on reforming global financial architecture, while accusing credit rating agencies of bias against small economies.

Speaking with one voice in the Caribbean, in support like the Bridgetown Initiative, Mr. Greenidge believes “we can make a difference.” The Bridgetown Initiative calls for reform of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to better support climate-vulnerable countries.

“The more we can achieve partnerships around the world, the better we are regarding financing and investment in Barbados and providing the necessary diverse products to do the financing we need. Naturally, the African continent would be a partnership,” he said

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Caribbean News

Jamaica Ripe for Business

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#Kingston, Jamaica, June 18, 2024 – Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, says Jamaica is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Caribbean and is urging more diaspora members to do business in the country.

Senator Hill was addressing a panel discussion on Monday (June 17) on the topic ‘Jamaica Open for Business: Transforming Investment and Enterprise in Jamaica through Diaspora Engagement’ at the 10th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

He cited the stability of the local currency as a key reason to invest in the island.

“There is no foreign exchange control in Jamaica. Clean money comes in and clean money goes out,” he noted.

The fact that the Government has been able to undertake infrastructure development and deliver critical services, particularly during the pandemic, without raising taxes, speaks to the strength of the economy, he said.

“We’ve gone through a pandemic where we had to spend $100 billion of Jamaican money that we didn’t plan to spend and yet we didn’t borrow any new money and we didn’t raise taxes. In fact, for the last eight years…what we have done with taxes is cut them. We cut the payroll tax twice and cut VAT (value-added tax) once,” Senator Hill said.

He added that the infrastructure buildout, real estate potential and Jamaica’s position as the logistics hub of the Caribbean also makes the country attractive to investors.

“This is where your money should be. Come to Jamaica,” Senator Hill appealed.

For Chief Executive Officer of GraceKennedy Financial Group, Grace Burnett, the highly productive and English-speaking talent pool is a major reason Jamaica is open for business.

“Our literacy rate is well over 92 per cent and we have a very stable democracy. When you look at some of the endorsements we have received from overseas institutions on ease of doing business and how we are performing as an economy, we have a very stable, strong regulatory framework and very supportive environment for starting a business and growing a business,” she explained.

Managing Director of JN Fund Managers at JN Group, Brando Hayden, explained that the risk management and infrastructure necessary to give investors comfort is strongly in place.

“When you come to Jamaica, not only are we open for business, your investment or your participation is backed up by solid infrastructure. We have the Jamaica Central Securities Depository and when you invest through the stock market, whether it is a bond, a stock and they also do private equity and private debt, you know there is solid record for your investment. From the depository, you know exactly how much you have and you get your dividend payments,” Mr. Hayden said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of VM Finance Limited and VM Overseas Offices at the VM Group, Leighton Smith, underscored that Jamaica’s economic stability, strategic location, strength of the financial sector, skilled workforce and diverse investment opportunities are factors that make Jamaica attractive to investors.

“What makes Jamaica the perfect landscape is when we think of the trade policies that exist… in terms of being the strategic location, which affords the opportunity to gain access to markets – CARICOM and the United States,” Mr. Smith said.

 

Contact: Judana Murphy

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