Saturday, October 6, 2012
Caribbean brand - affected by diversity
The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) will be hosting a State of the Caribbean Tourism conference in St. Kitts this October 9 - 10. The aim of that conference is to look at a few areas, but primarily how to promote the Caribbean as a destination. Some of the specific thoughts being pushed are: * What are the similarities within the Caribbean Brand * What are the differences? * How will the team of policy makers, marketers, sales people come up with a programme specific to the region of any value to the world tourist? Those questions suggest one thing, the Caribbean's tourism product is diverse and may not be able to be packaged enough to sell as one product. Each destination within the region has its own look, feel, taste and touch and while the people may have lots of similarities, the messages are different. That may be ideal within one location, but what distinguishes the Caribbean as an outstanding Brand. The Caribbean is easy to get to from anywhere in the world, but within the region it is becoming more and more difficult to get to each island. So air seats are an issue. With the disappearance of Air Jamaica; reduced flights on LIAT the inter island travel has not been the most convenient. We should consider 'building bridges'. (Smile) What then is the common thread for the Caribbean? How will we solve the age old problem of attracting more visitors to the region? Reports have surfaced recently where tourism arrival figures are down in some islands; while some are experiencing small margins of growth, however, with an international recession; more first world countries are promoting within; the Caribbean will have to find more creative ways to promote and attract more visitors to the region. We anticipate a summary of the new and refurbished ideas as we hit 2013 and beyond.