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Progress on Caribbean tourism marketing

Caribbean Connection

Bevan Springer | 5/15/2014, 11:03 a.m.
The Caribbean Tourism Development Company’s (CTDC) website, CaribbeanTravel.com, is making significant strides in promoting the region to the world.
Bevan Springer

MIAMI (May 15) – The Caribbean Tourism Development Company’s (CTDC) website, CaribbeanTravel.com, is making significant strides in promoting the region to the world.

Meeting in Miami this month, the CTDC board learned that 28 percent of visitors to its consumer website took the next steps and were tracked as leads, either to the destination or to specific hotels or tourism business websites.

“These early wins are encouraging as we ramp up,” said Beverly Nicholson-Doty, co-chairman of the board, “and we look forward to more successes as our strategic development unfolds.”

The CTDC is a cooperative marketing and business development initiative of the intergovernmental Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the private sector-driven Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

Board members were also encouraged to learn that 100 percent of CTO destination members are listed on CaribbeanTravel.com with the more than 600 CHTA members on the site.

“We will be encouraging members and non-members alike to sign onto the website, taking advantage of their free 180-day listing, and to remain engaged by regularly updating their information, which adds rich content to the site,” said Richard Doumeng, CHTA president and co-chairman of the CTDC.

To more widely spread the delights of the region, the board urged more use of social media to identify influencers to support and guide traffic to the site. They were additionally asked to identify “low- to no-cost” ways and means to promote a united Caribbean message.

“Ensuring the sustainability for Caribbean destinations and tourism businesses was high on the agenda, as was the development and delivery of services and products to our membership,” said Nicholson-Doty, who also serves as CTO chairman and commissioner of tourism of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

She also called for closer collaboration between the CTO and CHTA at consumer events to expand the region’s exposure, to share resources and to identify funding opportunities.

In addition to encouraging tourism-related stakeholders, board delegates concurred on the need to engage the diaspora and Caribbean residents to promote CaribbeanTravel.com and to enlist Caribbean celebrities as voices of the Caribbean and as promoters of the site. Delegates also agreed on strategies for business development and attracting additional funding to deliver the mandate of the company.

The creation of a monthly radio program was decided to be a valuable tool for updating the Caribbean and its diaspora communities on what the CTDC is doing to promote tourism and how this impacts each resident personally.

Also discussed was the feasibility of a Caribbean festival to highlight the region’s music, art, cuisine and literature within the region, as well as to the U.S. and Canada.

For further information, visit www.CaribbeanTravel.com.