(PRESS RELEASE) – Close to 1,000 delegates who will converge in Nassau this week for the 2020 edition of Caribbean Travel Marketplace will collect some meaningful mementos produced by entrepreneurs who survived last year’s Hurricane Dorian, which displaced thousands in northern Bahamas.
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), along with the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) and the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, led the fundraising initiative to support the creation of authentically Bahamian “swag bags” for the region’s largest and longest-standing tourism marketing event being hosted at Baha Mar resort in Nassau.
Bahamian arts and crafts industry matriarchs Agatha Mackey and Mavis Dean have been overseeing the project for months during which they have trained displaced workers to create stylish and useful bags incorporating straw and raffia.
“We are so pleased to be able to add this personal touch to Marketplace, showcasing and supporting Bahamian talent while supporting those who were impacted by Hurricane Dorian,” said CHTA President and Barbados hotelier Patricia Affonso Dass, who said this year’s initiative is a departure from the promotional items that are predominantly sourced from Asia.
Abaconians June Basset and Comfort Smith both lost their homes and have been living in a shelter in Nassau since the Category 5 storm in September. They have expressed their sincere thanks for the training and look forward to rebuilding their lives and expanding their trade back home in The Abacos.
The bags will feature the Bahamian flag in raffia and include handmade chocolates produced by the Grand Bahama-based Bootleg Chocolates, which is co-owned by entrepreneur Amanda Ormerod-Mullenmade. The treats are made with fresh fruit, berries, spices and rum that are indigenous to the region.
A special feature of this year’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace will be the integration of the Tru Tru Bahamian mini-marketplace experience that celebrates rich Bahamian culture and entrepreneurship.
According to Carlton Russell, President of the BHTA, the annual festival was created to showcase the best of Bahamian food, music, dance, arts and crafts. “It is a celebration of what is truly Bahamian and we are pleased to be able to share a sample of it with the regional and global tourism community.”
Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, this year’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace host sponsors are the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Baha Mar, and Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, while Platinum sponsors include ADARA; AMResorts; Figment Design; Interval International; Marketplace Excellence; Mastercard; STR; TravelClick, an Amadeus company; Travelzoo; U.S. Virgin Islands; and HM&B.
Gold sponsors are American Airlines, Best Western International, Caribbean Airlines, Caribbean Travel + Life powered by Islands, Caribbean Wellness & Education, HCP Media, playAWARDS, Questex Travel Group (Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor), Questex Travel & Meetings Events, Sojern, Symova, Travel Relations LLC, and TravPRO Mobile.
Silver sponsors are 7 Pillars Marketing on Demand; Arrivalist; BCV, a Rategain Company; Caribbean Journal; Condé Nast; Copa Airlines; Gamemasters Escape Solutions; interCaribbean Airways; Mitel; Northstar Travel Group; Pegasus; Saint Lucia Tourism Authority; SiteMinder; St. Martin / St. Maarten Tourist Office; Travel + Leisure | Blue Group Media; and TripAdvisor.