The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, is seeking to strengthen its relationship with Emirates Holidays, the largest airline tour operator in the Middle East, as it seeks to broaden the Caribbean’s appeal in the Arabian Market.
Meetings with the tour operator have been scheduled this week during Arabian Travel Market (ATM) from 24-27 April, to build on the relationship which began last year when the CTO conducted an in-house training programme in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 40 Emirates Holidays reservations, sales and operation staff to familiarize them with the Caribbean product. This after Emirates airlines had announced fights from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a code share agreement with Jet Blue, that opened up numerous Caribbean destinations to the United Arab Emirates.
Joining the CTO UK team at this year’s event – which will include meetings with Royal Caribbean International and other tour operators and social media influencers from the UAE, India and Norther Europe, as well as Caribbean destination briefings with key travel agents within the market – are Jamaica’s minister of tourism Ed Bartlett and officials of the Bahamas ministry of tourism.
“Arabian Travel Market presents a great opportunity for the Caribbean to take our product and services to a wider market. There is a great deal of interest in the Caribbean, and our sporting and cricketing legends have really helped to peak interest in the Caribbean throughout the Middle East and Asia,” said Carol Hay, the CTO’s director of marketing for the UK and Europe.
“We are particularly excited about the opportunity to host two destination briefings for the travel agents, as we know that product knowledge and networking is key to expanding our reach in these markets. It’s also important to have a sustained presence at international tourism events; tourism is an international business, and it is import to be in the arena where important decisions and contacts are made.”
Following ATM the CTO will host and present roadshows across Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia and Finland from 9-23 May, visiting Belfast, Dublin and Cork in Ireland; Bergen (Norway), Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland) and Aarhus (Denmark); and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland.
The CTO recently returned from hosting six Caribbean roadshows in France, visiting the cities of Rouen, Caen, Rennes, Nantes, Angers and Tours, and was joined by AMResorts, Barceló Hotels Group, the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission, Discover Dominica Authority and the Jamaica Tourist Board. The Bahamas ministry of tourism also supplied brochures and a small presentation.
These partners had the opportunity to network and present their destinations and products to over 100 travel agents and tour operators at the events, which attracted key industry professionals from the French market, all interested in learning more about the Caribbean region.