TORONTO — Next week’s Caribbean Week events in Ontario include two free travel agent workshops in Kitchener-Waterloo (Nov. 18) and Burlington (Nov. 19), plus agents are invited to attend a networking industry luncheon in Toronto on Nov. 16.
The Burlington and Kitchener-Waterloo workshops are part of a deliberate strategy to expand the Caribbean’s tourism message into suburban areas while continuing to strengthen the downtown core, says Hugh Riley, Secretary General of Caribbean Tourism Organization. The response so far “has been quite good so far and we welcome more,” said Riley. “We are confident that agents in these locations will see the benefit to attending these informative events.”
The Nov. 16 Toronto luncheon, a networking event with the industry’s who’s who, takes place at Rosewater Supper Club and costs $80 per person. The CTO “has a responsibility to ensure that agents get more than their money’s worth at these events,” said Riley. “The quality of the information we present is by itself worth a visit, because it is authentic, up to date and factual. Agents always need to ensure that they are receiving more than what is simply available to their clients on a website. Our members understand that, and are prepared for it.”
Riley added that when it comes to networking, agents not only have an opportunity to meet the key contacts from the destinations and participating properties, they get to ask specific questions to not only the destination reps in Canada, but also high-ranking tourism officials. “Every agent has some particularly demanding client or some set of unusual circumstances requiring special attention. We feel it is important for agents to be able to reassure their clients that they, the agents, know the right people first-hand. Face-to-face events like Caribbean Week have a considerable advantage over desk research.”
Canadian visitor figures presented at the CTO’s recent State of the Industry Conference in Curacao were trending up. Meanwhile the Canadian dollar continues to struggle. All-inclusive vacations pre-paid in Canadian dollars will no doubt bring even more Canadian travellers to the Caribbean this winter.
“Canadians are searching more diligently and finding the best deals on a Caribbean vacation. Their travel agents and their own research reveals where the value really exists – where the quality received more than justifies the price paid,” said Riley.