by Lisa A. Grimaldi | February 06, 2017
The Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which was held Jan. 31-Feb. 3 at Atlantis Paradise Island in Nassau, the Bahamas, attracted an estimated 1,000 registrants, including 271 travel, meeting and incentive buyers.
 
Of the 32 first-time buyers who attending this year's event, five were from meetings and incentive firms, a new target market for the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, according to its president, Karolin Troubetzkoy. The two-day appointment-based trade show kicked off with an opening ceremony that included addresses from Bahamas' Prime Minister Perry Christie and Troubetzkoy, who described 2016 as a year of mixed blessings for the industry. She reported overall growth in visitor arrivals to the Caribbean, although numbers have not been released yet, as well the challenges that tested the region, including an unusually warm winter in some originating markets, a weak Canadian currency, Great Britain's vote to leave the EU, travel patterns affected by the Olympic Games, the presidential election in the U.S. and political uncertainty around the globe. The Zika virus also had an impact, as did Hurricane Matthew, which battered the Bahamas and Haiti last October.
 
Troubetzkoy heralded 2017 as the Year of Adventure and the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. "Adventure and sustainability well define much of our appeal, and well reflect the shifts we've been seeing in why people travel and what they are looking for. As the caretakers and marketers of this global treasure that we call the Caribbean, we have not only the mandate to showcase it to the world but also to ensure it is protected, enhanced and sustained," she said, adding, "That's why issues like climate change, the development of our people and the preservation of our natural, cultural and historical resources are intertwined with our marketing and indeed our marketability."