An estimated 100 elite travel agents in the New York City area will be immersed in an authentic Caribbean experience during an educational seminar and trade show at Caribbean Week New York in June.
Authentic Caribbean: Exploring Food, Culture and Nature will be the focus of the seminar, organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to help agents better understand how these niches enhance their clients’ Caribbean vacation experience.
The travel agents will learn about the many influences that make Caribbean cuisine desirable to foodies; why visitors are attracted to the region’s unique culture and the significance of the natural environment to the history of the people of the Caribbean and to the agents’ clients. They will also develop skills that will help them identify new clients who travel for purpose-driven experiences, where to find them and how to become an expert in selling the Caribbean to these cultural connoisseurs.
"Despite the constant changes in the travel distribution system, the Caribbean Tourism Organization recognizes that travel agents have always played an important role in the sale of Caribbean vacations. Top consumer publications like the NY Times, USA Today and Times Magazine agree that travel agents are making a comeback and as such our region needs to continue to support their business, so that the Caribbean remains top of mind when they discuss vacation options with their clients," said Sylma Brown, the director of CTO USA Inc., the CTO’s New York office responsible for organizing Caribbean Week.
The 2013 American Culinary Traveler Report states that the number of American consumers who travel to learn about unique dining experiences jumped from 40 per cent of the travelling population in 2006 to 51 per cent by 2006 and 2013 and in the US alone the estimated expenditures on food services topped $201 billion dollars, nearly a quarter of all travel income.
In addition, a Global Heritage Fund-sponsored analysis of 500 global heritage sites by Stanford University economics graduates estimates that global heritage sites in the developing world are expected to generate over US$100 billion a year by 2025, up from $24.6 billion today.
"As consumers’ desires for new and authentic experiences continue to evolve, the travel industry must be prepared to provide opportunities for visitors to make genuine connections with local people, try their local foods, learn about their cultural heritage and, at the same time, disconnect from the stress of their everyday lives," said Ms. Brown.
The seminar will be facilitated by Arnie Weissmann, the editor-in-chief of the influential business-to-business news resources for the travel industry, Travel Weekly.
"A new traveller is emerging who rejects the symbols and trappings of old-guard status symbols. One way this has impacted travel is that the young and affluent don’t want to wall themselves up in the iconic, classic hotels that their parents aspired to inhabit, and they aren’t satisfied with only tokens of local colour," contends Mr. Weissmann.
The interactive seminar and trade show, which will be held from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. on Monday 1 June at the Wyndham New Yorker Grand Ballroom, is free to travel agents. It is also included in a specially priced Travel Agent Attendee Package announced by the CTO for the 42nd Annual Caribbean Week New York, June 1-5, 2015. In addition to travel agent functions, the package includes admission to several major industry events during this networking and fact-filled week.
Travel agents must register at http://caribbeanweek.com/category/travel-agents, for the Attendee Package or any events they wish to participate in during Caribbean Week.
For more information about Caribbean Week New York visit CaribbeanWeek.com, email CaribbeanWeek@caribtourism.com, call (212) 635-9530, or connect on Twitter @CaribbeanWeekNY and on facebook.com/caribbeanweekny. Caribbean Week is supported by American Express, Antigua & Barbuda, ASM, Caribbean News Service, Jamaica, Laura Davidson Public Relations, Martinique, The New York Times, Routes, Travel + Leisure and Wyndham New Yorker.