Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Caribbean looking to UAE to boost tourism sector

Published:Wednesday | April 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM
This May 8, 2014 file photo shows Emirates passenger planes at Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) says it is seeking to strengthen its relationship with Emirates Holidays, the largest airline tour operator in the Middle East, as it moves to broaden the Caribbean's appeal in the Arabian market.

The CTO said meetings with the tour operator have been scheduled during the April 24-27 Arabian Travel Market to build on the relationship which began last year when the organisation conducted an in-house training programme in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for 40 Emirates Holidays reservations, sales and operation staff to familiarise them with the Caribbean product.

It said the training followed the announcement by Emirates airlines of providing flights from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a code share agreement with JetBlue, opening up numerous Caribbean destinations to the United Arab Emirates.

Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, Ed Bartlett, and officials of The Bahamas ministry of tourism are part of the CTO delegation travelling to the Arabian Travel Market.

"Arabian Travel Market presents a great opportunity for the Caribbean to take our product and services to a wider market. There is a great deal of interest in the Caribbean, and our sporting and cricketing legends have really helped to peak interest in the Caribbean throughout the Middle East and Asia," said Carol Hay, the CTO's director of marketing for the United Kingdom and Europe.

"We are particularly excited about the opportunity to host two destination briefings for the travel agents, as we know that product knowledge and networking is key to expanding our reach in these markets. It's also important to have a sustained presence at international tourism events. Tourism is an international business, and it is import to be in the arena where important decisions and contacts are made," Hay added.

Following the Arabian Travel Market, the CTO will host and present roadshows across Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia and Finland from May 9-23, visiting Belfast, Dublin and Cork in Ireland; Bergen, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; and Aarhus, Denmark.

The CTO recently hosted six Caribbean roadshows in France.