Julia Hendry, Caribbean Tourism Organisation

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation and the Caribbean have had a successful year with a full programme of promotional activities that have kept the region at the forefront for the trade and consumers.

World Travel Market provides a great opportunity for CTO member countries, hotels and attractions to showcase the diversity of this popular year-round destination. Delegates are also able to build on their relationships with trade partners.

The UK and Europe are among the region’s most important markets, attracting almost 30% of the Caribbean’s visitor arrivals. Therefore WTM is a huge commitment for our countries, whose delegations include many ministers of tourism, top hoteliers and industry professionals.

This year, 40 Caribbean countries and properties will be exhibiting at WTM’s Caribbean Village, with the CTO (CA6500) at its heart.

Some of 2007’s highlights include the Cricket World Cup and a raft of hotel developments, such as the openings of the Bob Marley Hotel in the Bahamas and The Verandah, Antigua’s newest eco-resort.

The Caribbean’s luxury sector has enjoyed particular success recently, with lesser-known, more exclusive islands such as Anguilla experiencing exceptionally good arrivals figures.

Events include the Caribbean street party on Tuesday evening, which is known for its great music and hospitality and provides a good opportunity for networking over some West Indian rum.

On Thursday the CTO will play host to 24 key travel agents, giving them a true flavour of the region with a short presentation and a Caribbean lunch.

We want to use WTM to raise the trade’s awareness of the various activities we have been running to help agents keep up-to-date with Caribbean developments.

We’ll have information on our yearly Caribbean conferences and will be distributing our Caribbean Guide, full of destination information and events. We look forward to welcoming scores of visitors to the Caribbean Village.