For the first time in nearly 40 years, Caribbean Travel Marketplace will be staged virtually.
The show is considered the premier annual gathering in the region, where Caribbean hospitality and tourism professionals meet with colleagues and international buyers and sellers.
The event is traditionally held during January, but due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on travel and in-person events, the event will take place in an online environment from May 11th-14th.
Vanessa Ledesma, acting chief executive of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), which hosts the annual gathering, confirmed that organisers are currently crafting an agenda.
It will be designed to allow participants more time to engage with tour operators, travel advisors, partners, trade and consumer media and influencers, to network, showcase and sell their destinations and services.
Major destination partnership opportunities are also being developed: “There will be pre-Marketplace components that will help global buyers to gain a better understanding of the destinations and suppliers, and to receive briefings on entry requirements and safety protocols,” advised Ledesma.
In its virtual format, Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which typically lasts for just over two days, will be presented over the course of four days in May.
According to Ledesma: “It’s longer than usual because the online format allows us to incorporate supplemental elements without impacting the core buying and selling appointments.”
In preparing for its inaugural online format, the Caribbean Travel Marketplace task force reviewed feedback from attendees of previous marketplace events and analysed other virtual events to incorporate best practices.
The show will seek to maximise attendees’ time and avoid long hours spent in front of a computer screen.
Events will be scheduled to accommodate the participation of delegates located in multiple time zones, and will allow for more than one representative per company at pre-scheduled appointments.