Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
THE CARIBBEAN Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is forecasting an initial earning potential of J$100 million from the staging of the Caribbean Travel Marketplace (CTM) here next month.
The annual tourism event, hosted by the CHTA, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, is slated for January 12 to 14, 2014, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. It is the single most important business-tourism event for the region.
Speaking at a press briefing Tuesday morning at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, CHTA chairman, Josef Forstmayr, said some 1,200 delegates were expected to converge on the tourism capital, generating a spend of US$630,000 in hotel room charges over 3,500 room nights.
"At an estimate of nine per cent in room taxes, this would yield $56,700 directly to the Government," Forstmayr told the gathering, which included Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill, JHTA President Evelyn Smith, and Director of Tourism John Lynch.
Forstmayr argues that the event's real benefit to the destination will be generated from the exposure that will be derived as a result of having an anticipated 325 of the world's biggest tour operators captive for three days.
He said CTM buyers will come from North and South America and Europe.
"Unlike retail travel agencies, these delegates control global tourism flows and have the capacity to decide which countries will be incorporated into their tour brochures and which will not," stated the CHTA chairman.
One region Forstmayr didn't have a pulse on, in relation to registration, was the Latin American market; however, he was confident that at least 12 participants would sign up from that area.
FOURTH TIME AS HOST
This is Jamaica's fourth time hosting the prestigious event, and like previous years, the country's tourism minister, McNeill says, "We intend to ensure the event is a very memorable one, which will transcend all expectations."
Underscoring the importance of the buyers, who he tagged the major players in the industry, McNeill noted that the event will take place against the background of a resurgence in Jamaica's tourism industry and will be an important event during what he expects to be an excellent winter season.
"Our destination has grown considerably since the event was last held here, both in terms of our hotel rooms, with the addition of new world-class brands both indigenous and foreign," he stated, adding that the event will serve as a platform to showcase the country's enhanced tourism product.