By Jorge J. J. Martínez
For many reasons, the Caribbean is truly an earthly paradise for event organizers and meetings attendees. In addition to the beauty of nature, its infrastructure and people, Caribbean destinations offer great diversity for all types of meetings. Consisting of 33 destinations—from Bermuda in the north to Guyana in the south—it includes everything that touches the Caribbean Sea.
Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cancun and the Riviera Maya stand out for their ability to host and lodge more than 2,500 people. Smaller destinations such as Saint Kitts and Nevis, Bermuda, and the American Virgin Islands offer exceptional incentives.
The option of creating multi-destination events and exploring various Caribbean cultures is doable thanks to connections among the destinations such as Santa Lucia, Granada and Martinique. Also, destinations like Aruba that have historicallyhosted regional events are ready to compete on an international level.
“One of the benefits of the Caribbean is that many hotels have a MICE profile. The trend we are seeing for 2022 is interest in smaller events and conventions, which open doors for destinations that could not previously compete,” said Vanessa Ledesma, general manager of the Caribbean Hotel& Tourism Association (CHTA).
Currently CHTA has 364 hotels and 110 associates, but its influence extends to nearly 2,000 Caribbean organizations.
What are the challenges for CHTA in 2022?
· Continue to develop additional activities in order to demonstrate to travelers that the Caribbean is safe to visit.
· Develop resources and training for the MICE industry and keep ambassadors and professionals up to date.
· Expand destinations and give them options for attracting international events.
· Continue to position the Caribbean in the minds of travelers and event organizers.
“Onemajor objective is to carry out in-person events in 2022. We are set to have our Caribbean Travel Marketplacein April or May. We are working to lock in the location, considering destinations that previously had not been considered,” noted Vanessa Ledesma.
It’s worth noting that if any region in the world recognizes and practices resilience, it’s the Caribbean. Since 2015 it’s been in partnership with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to guarantee the health of both citizens and visitors.