MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Caribbean hospitality professional and regional vice president of franchise service and programmes for Choice Hotels International, Bill Clegg, has called on the tourism industry to support efforts to promote the Caribbean as a single destination.
Speaking ahead of the 2014 edition of Caribbean Travel Marketplace, slated for Jamaica this weekend, Clegg said he believes 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 chair of its membership committee, said global competition is not a figment of our imaginations
“It’s real and the region has to elevate its game.”
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 programmes 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”.
Clegg 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 said 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.