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A packed agenda for Caribbean Week

By Gay Nagle Myers From Travel Weekly

What’s on the docket for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s 44th annual Caribbean Week event in New York next week?

The good news is, Caribbean Week has something for everyone. The calendar of activities combines business sessions and consumer-oriented events with food, fashion and entertainment offerings designed to showcase the region’s product offerings and cultural experiences.

Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general, outlined the week’s broad objectives. “CTO wants to maximize this opportunity to showcase the Caribbean, provide a platform for the sale of Caribbean vacations, provide significant publicity for the region and engage our various stakeholders,” he said.
If past Caribbean Weeks are any indication, the CTO should be able to pull it off.

While a lot of serious business will take place inside the meeting rooms at the Wyndham New Yorker and its lobby bar as well, New Yorkers can head to Bloomingdale’s and Williams-Sonoma on June 3, 4, 8 and 10 to sample Caribbean culinary treats prepared by chefs from various resorts and restaurants in the Caribbean.

To show how varied the options are: There’s a church service in Brooklyn on June 3 for members of the diaspora and the Caribbean diplomatic corp, a Rum & Rhythm Benefit and Auction and mixologist competition at the Capitale event space in Little Italy on June 9 and a rock concert on June 10.

On the business side of things, the hotel’s grand ballroom is the venue for Selling the Romantic Caribbean trade show and educational forum for travel agents on June 6. “This is the industry’s opportunity to present qualified travel agents with relevant information to equip them to match their discerning clients with the best fit for the perfect wedding, honeymoon or vacation,” Riley said.

A marketing seminar on June 8 should draw a packed house. The theme is Marketing Caribbean Tourism in the New ‘Ab’ Normal and speakers include Scott Wiseman, president of Travel Impressions; Michael Kraabel, vice president, Bolin Marketing; and Randy Alleyne, president, Liberty Travel, among others.

A workshop open to the public on June 6 called To the Collaborators go the Spoils will provide information on ways in which national tourist offices with limited budgets can benefit from collaborating with supplier and retail professionals. Speakers include Karen Kent, chief marketing officer of leisure brands for Flight Centre Travel Group, USA; Eusi Skeete, the vice consul/senior business development manager of Barbados Tourism Marketing; and Gai Spann, founder of Spanning the Globe Tours.

On June 7 Caribbean students will take center stage in the grand ballroom to present their ideas and research projects on sustainable tourism. The diaspora will present the benefits and potential of cultural and heritage tourism in a forum at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.

Lest anyone forget that the Caribbean is in town that week, the Empire State Building will be lit with the colors of the Caribbean: magenta, red, orange, green, and purple.

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