Caribbean week in New York promotes unique vacations

POSTED: 05/9/12 2:12 PM

NEW YORK, NY — Caribbean Week in New York events will take place June 4-9, as a celebration of the sights, sounds, color and culture of the region. Combined with meetings and seminars for ministers and directors of tourism, tourist office representatives and other key officials from around the Caribbean, the week will promote unique vacation experiences to consumers at a day-long event at New York’s celebrated Grand Central Terminal as well as stage the annual media marketplace which draws travel writers from across North America.

“This year there is so much that has taken on a new look and feel that Caribbean Week in New York will not resemble anything we’ve had before,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) that organizes the events for its 31 member nations.

Artists, performers, celebrity chefs, fashion designers, models, investors and other strategic partners join government officials and the media as all converge on New York for a week that showcases the diversity and vibrancy of the region and offers Caribbean vacations at super special prices available only during Caribbean Week.

Caribbean Week in New York combines business sessions and consumer-oriented events with food, fashion, entertainment and networking opportunities. A special Diaspora Forum connects Caribbean executives with locals in New York, a power breakfast forum enables Caribbean ministers and directors to network with leading executives from a variety of fields and the annual marketing conference will feature topics on expansion, social media and the luxury market.

Caribbean Week in New York is the largest regional tourism activity in the New York area and typically attracts tens of thousands of participants to its largest event, the Caribbean Travel and Cultural Fair and Vacation Mart where consumers can purchase trips at special rates. Destinations and hotels from across the Caribbean will be on display at New York’s Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday June 6.

A new major consumer event will take place Friday evening June 8 as the Rum & Rhythm Charity Event is a brand new party where there will be a wide variety of rums to taste and celebrity chefs will prepare an assortment of cuisine to enjoy from around the Caribbean, all combined with music, dancing and Caribbean entertainment.

There will also be a live auction of Caribbean vacations and other travel-related items available for purchase hosted by celebrity auctioneer Amy Papola. Proceeds go to the CTO Foundation to assist the education of youth of the Caribbean.

Extensive television, radio and print media coverage of the various events reaches local, national and international audiences in the millions and is highlighted by the annual Media Marketplace in which journalists meet with Ministers of Tourism, Directors of Tourism and hoteliers from around the region.

Workshops for National Tourist Office representatives offer participants an opportunity to increase their knowledge in a particular field related to their profession.

The theme of this workshop is “Crisis communications: how to look and communicate like a pro during a crisis” and will be conducted by Johnson John Rose, CTO communications specialist; and Wanda Fisher, president of Skycue Marketing, Brand Communications.

A country’s reputation is its most valuable asset and from time to time, this asset is threatened by a crisis. This could be anything from storms to crime, from natural to manmade. When this happens, how do you defend your country’s reputation? What can you say to avoid making a bad situation worse? How do you say it? What image do you project?

This Workshop is to help members communicate effectively when they are faced with a crisis. It will examine some of the best examples of crisis communications – as well as some of the worst – and participants will glean an understanding of how to communicate like a pro.

Sports tourism, one of the world’s fastest growing niche markets in the tourism industry, is the focus of a workshop for travel agents, also on June 4. Sports tourism is a multi-billion dollars industry which represents a unique opportunity for travel agents. Sports Tourism refers to trips taken with the purpose of watching or participating in sporting events.

This workshop themed “Be Fast or Be Last” is designed to help travel agents understand the relationship between sports and tourism – how to identify sports enthusiasts, how to capture their attention and match them with the sporting activity in which they wish to participate or enjoy, and then close the sale. Travel agents will also learn from the national tourism office representatives what the destinations are doing to facilitate this niche and to attract visitors.

Renowned chefs representing a variety of destinations from hotels and restaurants across the Caribbean will spice up the city with their flair and flavors on June 8. These celebrity chefs will prepare signature island dishes at prestigious locations throughout New York City giving potential visitors a taste of the Caribbean.

Throughout the week, the chefs will be on hand at various events to interact with the public and media as they showcase their culinary skills. In previous years, events at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and William Sonoma stores have showcased Caribbean celebrity chefs throughout the week.

In the Caribbean Diaspora Forumon June 5, visiting Caribbean tourism officials and policy-makers will discuss matters of mutual interest with the diaspora. The CTO will also provide an update on its Rediscover Home program, an initiative aimed at strengthening the relationship between the Caribbean diaspora and the region.

The Forum will be immediately followed by Caribbean tales film presentations and discussions. The audience will comprise a cross-section of Caribbean nationals and friends of the Caribbean, including young adults keen on entering the tourism profession.

On June 6 the second Investment Power Forum on the Caribbean is on the agenda, featuring Francisco J. Sanchez, undersecretary of commerce for international trade, Jay Neo, president and co-founder of Solamon Energy Corp, Jonathan S. Blue, chairman and managing director of Blue Equity, LLC, and Lisa Lake, head of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Caribbean. W. Dave Dowrich, vice president, Goldman Sachs & Co. will be the moderator.

This is an opportunity to connect with over 200 leading executives like high net-worth individuals and institutional investors as well as ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism.

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