The CHTA Marketplace 2019 began in Montego Bay

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The CHTA Marketplace 2019 began in Montego Bay
Wed January 30, 2019

Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association organizes the 37th edition of the event that takes place at the Montego Bay Convention Center. Officials from 20 countries and important businessmen are present

Produced by CHTA, Caribbean Travel Marketplace brings together representatives of hotels and destinations; wholesalers and tour operators; online travel agencies; segment professionals (MICE); and members of the media during several days of business meetings, including a busy schedule of thousands of pre-scheduled appointments.​
The event is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism of Jamaica, the Association of Hotels and Tourism of Jamaica and the Tourism Board of Jamaica.​
Frank Comito, CEO of CHTA, John Newell, Senior VP of Scotiabank, Patricia Affonso-Dass, President of CHTA, Matt Cooper, CMO of CHTA and Hugh Riley, CEO of CTO, participated in the presentation this morning.​
Frank Comito commented: "Jamaica is synonymous with exceptional hospitality, world-renowned culture and incredible beauty." We look forward to continuing to offer our participants a high-quality program to interact with colleagues in the industry and promote travel to our region".

Caribbean Travel Marketplace is hosting the largest group of buyers in its history from the widest number of countries. Sixty new buyer companies out of about 145 have joined the conference this year and CHTA is welcoming the largest contingent of Chinese travel buyers to date along with new buyer companies from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, India, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Our relationship with you, our buyer partners, and your active engagement in promoting and selling our region is integral to the sustainability of our economies and, by extension, the livelihood of our people, and I would like to encourage you to get more actively engaged with the association," she implored. "The diversity of buyers attending Marketplace from around the world ironically reflects the diversity of our Caribbean offerings - a united region with an incredible array of offerings with their own distinct natural beauty, history and culture. This is one of our core strengths," she added.
 Pointing to the region's people, she wants the Caribbean to be known as a region where genuine service is delivered by "regionally proud, highly trained professionals who understand the critical importance of their role and their importance to the success, sustainability and economic viability of the region."
 Affonso-Dass, who has championed the theme of "people development" even prior to assuming the role of president last year, asserted that the people of the region are "our most important asset and our most marketable commodity".
In a world that often appears dominated by divisiveness, fear and uncertainty, the CHTA president's dream is for the Caribbean region "to continue to stand strong and united, to be synonymous with a genuine welcome, an authentic experience and excellent service delivered with soul and pride".
She told the 1,000 delegates attending the opening reception that "more and more of our customers are telling us that what they are seeking is a personal connection with our people, a genuine experience, and an opportunity to feel that their being here makes a positive difference. Our responsibility is to ensure that our people have the right training, real opportunities for development and a chance to derive the greatest value for themselves and their families from the industry in which they work". 
 The CHTA president thanked those in attendance who are supporting the CHTA Education Foundation, calling on more of the delegates to invest in the region's people. To date the foundation has awarded scholarships to more than 400 Caribbean nationals and in 2018 provided certificate training to several hundred employees.

During the press conference Frank Comito presented figures on the market that have emerged from the Annual Industry Performance and Outlook Survey conducted by the CHTA.

In the evaluation of hotel performance, the perspectives for 2019 are:
There will be new and improved accommodations
Improve connectivity
There is optimism but growing concerns about the global economy
Capital investments reported by 61 percent in hotels will be increased
There will be new hires in 47% of the properties, while 44% will maintain the existing levels.
The residual impact of the 2017 hurricanes will still affect several destinations

The ten most important issues that affect the Caribbean are:
Global economic uncertainty, that is, consumer confidence, Brexit, potential recession
Insufficient marketing by destinations and region
High air rates
Need to improve the local business environment
Related to work - availability of skilled workers - productivity
Growing global competition
Perception of security and crime
Global negative perception of the region
High cost of doing business
Persistent impact of hurricanes 2017

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