First-ever CTO UK & Europe Caribbean Travel Showcase a huge business opportunity

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — Buyers and sellers of Caribbean travel-related products are about to be brought together for “a day of panel discussions, one-to-one pre-scheduled business meetings and a hosted three-course meal” at the first-ever Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Chapter UK and Europe Caribbean Showcase set for September 23, 2021, at the Leonardo Royal London St. Paul’s hotel in London, UK.

According to an official TTG Media announcement, the event aims to “bring together buyers and suppliers looking to grow their business in the region”, encouraging new relationships and promoting the diverse products on offer across the Caribbean.

“All buyers and suppliers will have the opportunity to network during a pre-dinner drinks reception, which will be followed by a three-course meal and a prize draw giving away trips to the Caribbean,” the announcement outlined.

CTO UK and Europe Chair Colin Pegler said, “It has been an extremely challenging 18 months; however, the Caribbean has come back even stronger and we are keen to show buyers all the improvements that have been made.”

Big names already signed up for the showcase include official tourism groups from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cayman, Grenada, Jamaica, The Bahamas and St. Lucia.

But the event is for more than just major hoteliers and government entities, as short-term accommodation owners, tour operators, luxury travel agents and charter companies all stand to benefit.

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    In a recent CTO panel discussion, Rafat Ali, CEO and founder of travel-focused media company Skift, noted that short-term accommodations like AirBnBs are becoming the norm as travelers look to avoid the large crowds of big hotel chains.

    Travelers are also increasingly opting for charters over traditional airplane flights, despite the heftier cost, as they seek more exclusive modes of travel, according to Skift Global Tourism Reporter Lily Girma, who outlined the further opportunity to offer island-hopping experiences that plane, boat and yacht charter operators as well as luxury travel agents can take advantage of.

    Additionally, big tour operators can benefit from a steady rise in group bookings; and rural tourism stakeholders can seize a trend in conscious travelers looking to engage in “regenerative tourism”, such as staying at farmers’ accommodations and learning about their livelihoods, Girma said.

    The tourism model is “not ‘build it and they will come’ anymore”, she added as she encouraged different stakeholders to come together to design the build-back of the tourism sector.

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