‘We must trumpet our strengths, put life back into Caribbean promotion.’ — Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, CTO
New organization looks to tackle marketing challenges
By Gay Nagle Myers
Low-cost air transportation, the efficient delivery
of information, the elimination of impediments
to sustainable growth and the guarantee of positive visitor experiences are key marketing challenges and goals of the Caribbean region, according to Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, secretary general of
the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
“Our focus is to build the Caribbean brand one phenomenal
experience at a time,” Vanderpool-Wallace said in his keynote
speech at the 14th annual Caribbean Marketing Workshop, one
of the industry events held during
Caribbean Week in New York.
Taking on that assignment
is the new Caribbean Tourism
Development Co., a marketing
and business-development unit
owned equally by the CTO and
the Caribbean Hotel Association.
The CTDC was announced in
June 2005, approved a year later
and legally formed in December
2006. “Now we are ready to go,”
the secretary general said.
With its mandate to own, protect, promote, enhance and advance the Caribbean brand, the
CTDC has redefined the Caribbean’s marketing aim in light of the
changing face of tourism marketing in the region.
“We must trumpet our
strengths, put life back into Ca-
ribbean promotion and reinforce
the region’s diversity. If we don’t
have visitors leaving the region
saying it’s great, then we have
failed,” Vanderpool- Wallace said.
“CTDC represents cooperation and coordination across the
board between the public sector,
represented by CTO, and the private sector, which is CHA. We’ll
have more efficient use of marketing funds, and we’ll have a
greater presence and dominance
in the media,” he said.
Key issues include:
• Air transportation. “There
are too few seats with too high
prices and too few connections.
We need fares that are competitive. We’re asking governments to
adopt our recommended solution
of open skies to the Caribbean
and standardized civil aviation
• The launch in September of
an official Caribbean Web site will
feature listings of destinations in
Continued on Page 61
Caribbean Week was a busy one
Events during the annual Caribbean Week held recently in New
York included speeches, panel sessions, cricket matches, beach
volleyball, gospel singing, wedding ceremonies, concerts, culinary
demonstrations, town hall meetings, a children’s village and a Caribbean street fair.
The Jamaica Tourist Board hosted a tourism awards luncheon
and presented Jacqueline Johnson, president of Jacqueline Johnson
& Associates, with the Marcella Martinez Award for “unparalleled
achievement in the design and implementation of successful programs to strengthen and support Caribbean tourism.”
The Jamaican-born Johnson represents Conde Nast Bridal Media,
which includes five bridal publications and two bridal Web sites.
Aloun N’Dombet Assamba, Jamaica’s minister of tourism, entertainment and culture, said that Johnson “has devoted most of her
career to promoting the Caribbean and its people.”
The Marcia Vickery-Wallace award, named after the former editor
of Brides magazine for her dedication in promoting the Caribbean
region, recognized travel writer Joe Yogerst for his writings on the
culture of the Caribbean. Special recognition awards also went to
Alec Sanguinetti, chairman and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel Association, and to Hugh Riley, director of marketing, Americas, for the
Caribbean Tourism Organization.
The event-filled week culminated with the 34th annual Governments of the Caribbean state ball at the Waldorf-Astoria.
New this year was a series of beach volleyball qualifying matches,
which was a prelude to the first Caribbean Beach Volleyball Championship Tournament in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico, on Nov. 3 and 4.
New York’s South Street Seaport was the venue for the all-day Caribbean Fair, one of many events hosted throughout Caribbean Week.