“CHTA Caribbean Marketplace continues to be a key industry event for us each year,” said Mrs. Rosecita Jeffers, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “We had the opportunity to meet with several of our travel partners and network with top media operators and other colleagues, all of whom expressed keen interest in the progress that St. Kitts has been making and gave us reason to have an optimistic outlook for the productivity of our various tour operators’ marketing programs.”
A key objective of St. Kitts’ participation in CHTA Marketplace was to meet with tour operators and wholesalers who directly book hotel rooms and to add new tour operator programs. Tour operators were updated on the new Destination Specialist program, which St. Kitts debuted on January 9, 2012. The delegation from St. Kitts also updated operators on news from the island, such as the private jet terminal, and various other projects. In total, the St. Kitts delegation held a total of 36 meetings over the two days allocated to these functions during the event. Among the operators meeting with St. Kitts were Travel Impressions, Classic Vacations, TNT Vacations and Costco Travel. In addition to the meetings, the St. Kitts delegation participated in “Preferred Partner Receptions” hosted by Expedia, Classic Vacations and Flight Centre (GOGO).
In keeping with the growing influence of online and social media, St. Kitts continues to direct more efforts to these marketing channels. This year, St. Kitts interacted with CHTA, various journalists and other event attendees by tweeting from its official Tourism Authority account with the designated conference hashtag, #CHTAMP2012.
This year, the delegation from St. Kitts that attended CHTA Marketplace was comprised of: Senator Ricky Skerritt, Minister of Tourism & International Transport; Mrs. Rosecita Jeffers, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority; Patrice Henry, Tourism Officer in the New York office of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority; and Denise Zimber, Boston-based Industry Relations, Marketing & Sales specialist for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. Local private sector partners also represented at the event included Ocean Terrace Inn, Sugar Bay Resort, Tropical Tours, Oualie Beach Club and Nisbet Plantation.
St. Kitts was named one of the “Top 12 Spots that should be on your list for 2012” by Caribbean Travel + Life magazine and the island’s Brimstone Hill Fortress was named one of “10 Great Places To Explore The World's Best-Kept Secrets” by USA Today. As of summer 2011, the destination also ranks #1 on a list of the 16 Best Caribbean Vacations by US News & World Report. Last year, St. Kitts was named a top destination for 2011 by both AOL Travel and British Airways. Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches. Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.