The Caribbean region has set its sights on making greater inroads into the European cruise market as a record 12 destinations and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) come together for the Seatrade Med Convention in Marseille, November 27-29, 2012.
With the Caribbean facing increased competition from other global cruising regions and a challenging marketplace, the destinations view the growing European market as an opportunity to extend their reach and drive new business to their sectors. As they look to tap into this segment, several seek to position themselves as viable homeport options for these cruise lines.
Capitalizing on homeporting opportunities is just one of the objectives of the grouping who will collectively exhibit under the banner, the Caribbean Village. In showcasing the Caribbean region to the more than two dozen leading cruise brands attending the conference, the focus will be to highlight new initiatives, itinerary options, product upgrades and infrastructural developments.
The contingent will include public and private sector entities and tourism officials from Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.
With the call for greater regional collaboration in relation to the cruise tourism sector, the group cites an expanded vision for future partnership. It is in a show of support for this regional thrust that the CTO has partnered with these destinations for this year’s event and will sponsor the industry reception “A Taste of the Tropics”.
“The cruise industry is extremely important to the Caribbean and has provided a critical value-based sector to our overall tourism product mix,” said Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general. “The CTO is happy to see member countries continuing to work together under the Caribbean Village banner because we believe if Caribbean destinations work more closely together, we will increase revenue per passenger, and grow the economic impact of cruising for our region.”
“There has been a significant shift in terms of our approach to the industry as we recognize that our traditional models are less effective in today’s business climate especially in light of successful joint marketing initiatives by cruising regions such as the Baltic and Mediterranean,” according to business development consultant for the group, Julie-Anne Burrowes. “Caribbean destinations have to partner more in order to remain relevant.”
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