MONTEGO BAY: Bill Clegg, Caribbean hospitality professional and regional vice president of franchise service and programs for Choice Hotels International, has called on the tourism industry to support efforts to promote the Caribbean as a single destination.
Speaking before the annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace, held in Montego Bay from January 12-14, Clegg said it’s time for all stakeholders in the tourism industry to fully embrace regional marketing.
The North Carolina-based Clegg, who also serves as regional vice president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and chairman of its membership committee, said global competition should not be underestimated.
“It’s real and the region has to elevate its game,” he said.
Clegg said the Caribbean is a frequently requested destination from Choice Hotels’ guests so the region should try to find ways to keep this interest alive.
Regional marketing programs developed by the CHTA and its public sector partner, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), help to properly communicate the value of the Caribbean brand, “but they can’t succeed without more consolidated support from their members”, said Clegg.
The Choice Hotels executive echoed CTO Chairman Beverly Nicholson-Doty’s Christmas wish for the Caribbean tourism sector “that we commit to promoting the region as one destination throughout 2014…so that the Caribbean Tourism Development Company, which we own jointly with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, can bolster our campaign for the region’s benefit”.
Clegg concurred there was a huge opportunity awaiting the region not only in the traditional North American and European markets, but also in emerging markets, including long haul destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, South America, the Middle East and Africa.
“But we first have to get our act together and promote the Caribbean, with its many wonderful attractions, as one region,” he said.