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Journalist Ivette Davila-Richards heading off to St. Thomas.

Bevan Springer | 2/8/2012, 7:04 p.m.
Journalist Ivette Davila-Richards heading off to St. Thomas.

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The spotlight will be on the importance of emerging markets to the Caribbean region at next week's Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) slated for St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands (USVI) from December 1 to 5.

Among the experts speaking about the importance of marketing to multicultural audiences during the conference are Lisa Skriloff, a veteran multicultural marketing expert, and CBS News Associate Producer Ivette Davila-Richards of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

The multicultural population, which includes African Americans, Caribbean-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians and Alaskan natives among other groups, currently represents a staggering 36 percent of the US population, and US $2.6 trillion in annual buying power.

"With the recent US Census indicating that the minority population will be the majority by 2042, addressing the interests and travel habits of ethnic and niche travelers is becoming increasingly important for the travel industry. That is why multicultural tourism is a key consideration for travel marketers," said Lisa Skriloff, editor and publisher of Multicultural Travel News.

Ivette Davila-Richards, a Puerto Rican native and NAHJ Director for the Northeast USA, reinforced the importance of multicultural promotion and looks forward to helping the USVI and the Caribbean leverage the $71 billion dollars Hispanic Americans spend annually on travel.

"I am very excited to be able to participate in such a prestigious event in the United States Virgin Islands, where I can share NAHJ's message of advocacy and support for Hispanic journalists in the media. I also look forward to Tweeting, Facebooking and blogging about this event to the members of NAHJ and our partners," said Davila-Richards, a former videographer for NY1 News/NY1 Noticias, and an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

Also addressing the conference on the power of the African American and Caribbean American markets will be Michael Deflorimonte, a former executive with Charles Schwab and Company, and Virgin Islander Kevin Hughes, who set up the popular Virgin Islanders United organization here in New York.

During the meeting, CMEx will also emphasize the role of young people in guiding the successful development of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean as Virgin Islander, Caribbean and American students bring fresh approaches to the re-invigoration of the region's tourism product.