Barbados Successfully Hosted the 41st CHTA Marketplace

Barbados recently played host to the highly anticipated 41st edition of the Caribbean Tourism and Hotel Association (CTHA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace which was held from May 9th-May 11th

With Over 23 countries represented and 125 buyer companies, the three-day event proved to be a success, leaving participants and attendees inspired and eager to further the growth and development of tourism in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Travel Marketplace provided a platform for tourism suppliers to meet face-to-face with wholesalers from around the world selling Caribbean vacation travel over the course of two days of business meetings. 


 A First for Destination Barbados 

This was the first time Barbados held a travel marketplace of this calibre, which is traditionally held in larger destinations. 

The island was able to host the event in a very creative way, opening the doors for other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to be able to have a similar type of activity. 

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) wanted to ensure through hosting the marketplace, people recognized that Barbados is not only 100% open for business but that the island does have product to showcase.


Caribbean Travel Marketplace 

The three-day Caribbean Travel Marketplace commenced with the second annual Caribbean Travel Forum. Government officials, travel partners and industry leaders discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in the travel industry, engage in thought-provoking discussions and shared innovative ideas to shape the Caribbean tourism.

The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados was the keynote speaker for the forum and emphasized the crucial collaborative effort needed to shape the Caribbean tourism industry.

The Prime Minister also spoke on the importance of tapping into the Latin American market as an avenue to increase visitors to the Caribbean region. 

It was revealed during the State of the Industry presentation, which was given by the President of CHTA, Nicola Madden-Greig, that the Latin America market is on the rise with an increase of 14% more arrivals in the Caribbean than in 2019. The data also showed premium arrivals are fuelling growth in the Caribbean.  

Following the forum, the marketplace officially kicked off with an extravagant opening ceremony featuring exquisite authentic Bajan cuisine, cultural performances and local entertainers. 


New Latin America Office

On May 10th,  the first day of the Marketplace began where the Hon. Ian Gooding-Edghill, Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados, gave a presentation on the current state of Barbados’ tourism. During his presentation, the minister announced that the BTMI will be opening a new office in Panama City and expanding air service out of the Latin American Market to increase visitor arrivals from that region.

This dynamic Marketplace also brought together an array of travel agencies, hotels, resorts, tour operators, and other stakeholders from across the Caribbean. Participants showcased their offerings, from breath-taking destinations to unique experiences, enticing attendees to explore the diverse beauty and rich cultural heritage the region has to offer.


Creating More Opportunities for Locals

Hosting the Marketplace in Barbados also created a unique opportunity for smaller properties to showcase their offering, like the members of Intimate Hotels of Barbados.

“It has really been a wonderful opportunity to be at the Marketplace and it is also very important for Intimate Hotels of Barbados to be here, as an association that represents over 40 members. A few of our members joined us at the booth and have sat in on a few of the meetings as well, so we are thrilled that they have been able to get this experience, especially knowing that they might not have the opportunity to travel to a CHTA marketplace on their own,” said Davina Layne, Executive Director of Intimate Hotels of Barbados.

The Marketplace also featured a creative showroom where Barbadian local brands were given a platform to showcase their clothing lines, accessories, skin care and so much more. Some of the brands included J Riveria, Blac Flamingo Apparel, Azure Gourmet Skin Care and Yendor to name a few.

Rhea Cummins Jordan, Owner of Blac Flamingo was very thankful for the experience and said that the chance to showcase their brands can really open doors for her brand and other Barbadian small business owners.

After three eventful days, the CHTA 41st Caribbean Tourism Marketplace came to a spectacular close with a night filled with food, local entertainers and deejays and a magical drone show at Hilton Barbados.

Overall, the Marketplace was a success in providing a platform for stakeholders to network, share ideas, and showcase the best of the Caribbean. It also highlighted the region’s unwavering commitment to excellence in tourism and set the stage for even greater achievements in the years to come.


By: Rhe-Ann Prescod