The upcoming CHTA in-person conference

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The Caribbean is gearing up to host one of its biggest tourism conventions, and it will be an in-person event, the first such regional conference since the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020.

Barbados and the Caribbean have lost another pillar of the hospitality and tourism industry with the passing of former General Manager of the Sandy Lane Hotel and former President of the Barbados Hotel Association (now Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association), Richard Williams.

Williams was highly respected for his work in the luxury hotel industry with an emphasis on independent properties in the Caribbean region. Among his accomplishments, “He led the team in the execution of the US $ 500 million planning and redesign of the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados.

“In 2004, he successfully led the tourism bid for Barbados to host the Cricket World Cup Final in 2007, after which he was appointed to the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) [now Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.] with responsibility for the Americas in New York where he repositioned the destination and orchestrated 70,000 additional air seats per year from the American market.

He was educated at the UWI Cave Hill campus and Cornell University in New York City and had long been affiliated with the Miami-based Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

He won the prestigious Caribbean Hotelier of the Year award from that organization and, in recognition of his commitment to tourism, he received the Government of Barbados Silver Crown of Merit. He has also been recognized as “One of the Top 25 Marketing Minds” in the Americas by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

The Barbados Hotels and Tourism Association has remembered Williams as an “extraordinary practitioner of tourism,” whose energetic and spirited personality inspired many who met him.
He was truly an icon of international tourism whose passion and commitment to the global tourism industry was evidenced by his many contributions, whether locally, regionally or internationally.

“While Richard’s affection and love for tourism was evident and undeniable, this gentleman’s warmth, kindness and hospitable nature reflected his respect, professionalism and humanity. He readily offered advice and volunteered to help
with activities.
He was not just ready to speak but was ready to become actively involved in the work that needed to be undertaken. Richard will be missed, his effervescent personality, his infectious smile and his wit that has made people laugh countless times.

Meanwhile, the President of the Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association, Nicola Madden-Greig, praised his volunteer service at CHTA during which he helped shape and design the Caribbean Marketplace, Caribbean Gold Book and CHARMS (Caribbean Hotel Association Reservation Management Service).

“Richard has had a tremendous influence on many new and seasoned players in the industry. He will always be remembered for his ability to share his ideas and knowledge transparently and selflessly with others, ”said the Jamaican hotelier.

Vanessa Ledesma, interim CEO and Managing Director of CHTA, added that Williams was a distinguished champion in ensuring that the region’s main economic driver was also a responsible steward of the Caribbean environment: “He was a supporter. dedicated to responsible tourism and led CAST (Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism), a CHTA initiative that provides tourism businesses with sustainability resources, best practices, and support for advocacy for sustainable advances in tourism. the Caribbean hotel and tourism sector.

“Richard was a tireless advocate for the work of CHTA and Caribbean tourism. He has always made himself available to support the important mandate of our organization. His insight and intelligence will be sorely missed, ”said Ledesma. (DH / PR)

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) recently announced plans to host the 40th edition of the Caribbean Travel Marketplace (CTM) in April-May.
Next year.

HTA President for the Caribbean Tourism Market, Karen Whitt, said the event featured buyers and sellers of tourism products, goods and services in the region. A host country has yet to be named.

Most Caribbean destinations still face another wave of pandemic COVID-19 infections, with the Delta variant responsible for the upsurge in cases.

Due to travel and meeting issues related to COVID-19, CHTA revealed that more than 6,000 meetings were held virtually over three days during the market earlier this year, giving buyers from 20 countries the opportunity to meet connect with suppliers representing over 150 Caribbean. hotels and tourism-related businesses.

The fully virtual CTM 39 included buyers from Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Korea , Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. , and the United States.

According to a statement from CHTA: “In preparation for CTM 40, CHTA is setting up focus groups with members of CHTA, the association’s executive committee and tourism buyers to determine the form and function of the next conference and to ensure the broadest benefits for all participants. .

“In addition, under consideration, expanding the diversity of offerings, the inclusion of the travel agent community and the attraction of more small properties to join the traditional CTM mix of boutiques and big brands.

“Dealing with the pandemic and its many effects on hospitality and tourism is high on the focus group agendas to ensure that CHTA members get the best advice for the future. “

Barbados, which has been severely affected by the pandemic, is among the Caribbean states reported by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for its rising infection rates.

Meanwhile, Tourism and International Transport Minister Senator Lisa Cummins insisted her department would take no knee-jerk reaction to the new variant known as Omicron.

She said: “The Department of Health has done an exemplary job all this time. They kept our borders secure; they’ve kept our people safe as best they can control it. “

She added: “I am confident that the Ministry of Health will advise, and we will comply, and we will follow because we know that the tourism sector is in recovery mode, but it is also fragile. “

Several countries have closed their borders to many countries in southern Africa where the variant was first isolated. (BMI1)

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