Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (centre) shows appreciation for an item during the official opening ceremony for the Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2014, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on January 12. Also applauding are president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Evelyn Smith (right) and president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA), Richard Doumeng. JIS Photo
By Glenis A. Rose
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (JIS) -- Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says that Jamaica’s commitment to regional development and partnership remains firm.
She said that the country’s devotion to the region finds expression in, among other things, its active involvement in various regional bodies and initiatives such as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).
She was addressing the official opening ceremony and awards presentation for the Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2014, held on Sunday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The premier regional tourism trade show is being held in Jamaica over three days, from January 12 to 14.
The prime minister, in endorsing the event, said that Jamaica believes “in the power of the Caribbean brand and its ability to demonstrate that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’. After all, there is only one Caribbean and tourism is a critical industry for so many Caribbean economies. Our region’s performance in tourism is one we can all be proud of. It has enormous potential for growth.”
She noted further that “it is in that spirit of cooperation and collaboration, tinged with healthy, keen and friendly regional competition, that you gather here for the next few days to market the region as the preferred destination to the world’s travels.”
The prime minister welcomed the visitors, particularly those coming from sections of the United States and Canada that are being affected by sub-zero temperatures and snowstorms. She said she is “extremely concerned” about the conditions they have been experiencing over the past few weeks.
“I am pleased that you could join us, many of you braving extreme weather to make it here to Montego Bay. We embrace those of you who are, as Bob Marley sang, “coming in from the cold” with true Jamaican and indeed Caribbean warmth and love. We hope that the lives of all residents of those areas, but in particular the worst affected, return to normality in the shortest possible time,” she stated.
The prime minister said that the extreme weather conditions have highlighted the critical need for countries to pay greater attention to the issue of climate change.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace, organised by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), is the largest and most important business-to-business marketing event for the region’s hospitality industry.
The trade show matches suppliers, such as hotels, restaurants and tourist boards, with buyers, tour operators and wholesalers in pre-scheduled business appointments, where parties discuss existing contracts and develop packages and contracts for future business. This is Jamaica’s fourth time hosting the regional event.