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Puerto Rico snares Caribbean Marketplace again

January 2006 event to attract more than 1,200 attendees and inject about $6 million into S.J. economy


May 20, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados–Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) once again has selected San Juan as the venue for Caribbean Marketplace, its biggest annual travel and tourism trade event, to be held in January 2006, announced Alec Sanguinetti, its director general, during the conclusion of the recent Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference.

Held every year in January, Caribbean Marketplace sets the tone for travel packaging in the region, considered by many the Caribbean’s most significant tourism marketing event of the year. Every year, at least 1,200 Caribbean tourism suppliers from 36 destinations in the region attend the event to meet with qualified international buyers, including wholesalers, incentive buyers, meeting planners, group buyers, and dive-shop owners.

During a visit to Puerto Rico earlier this month, Sanguinetti met with Terestella González Denton, designated executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC), about holding the January 2006 Caribbean Marketplace in San Juan. "We inspected the new Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC) and were very impressed with the facility," he said. CHA’s director general predicted the recently opened center "will be a formidable competitor with convention facilities in Orlando [Fla.] and elsewhere in the southern U.S. It is obvious to us that it enjoys excellent support from the government of Puerto Rico."

CHA President Berthia Parle confirmed the CHA’s choice to hold the event on the island in a meeting in Bridgetown, Barbados, with PRTC Deputy Executive Director Mickey J. Espada and PRTC Financial Incentives Program Director Yarisa Diaz Sánchez. Parle told them, "We [CHA] are looking forward to a successful Marketplace 2006 in San Juan because of the excellent support we have always received from the government of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA)."

The 2006 CHA Marketplace would be the third the regional hotel association holds on the island, which also was the site of both the 2003 and 2004 CHA Marketplace. Sanguinetti said both events were very popular with attendees, "who still talk about the many attractions San Juan offers" (CB Jan. 9, 2003, Jan. 8, 2004). The 2005 CHA Marketplace, held in Montego Bay, Jamaica (CB June 10, 2004), was also successful, "and we believe the 2006 event will be even better," Sanguinetti said.

Concerned about San Juan’s heavy traffic

CHA representatives and Caribbean member associations expressed concern about the logistical challenges of transporting more than 800 delegates to the PRCC from Isla Verde, Condado, and the Caribe Hilton. "We are concerned about the traffic bottlenecks that routinely develop in the area of the Dos Hermanos Bridge and the adjacent cloverleaves, where people can get stuck for nearly an hour," said Sanguinetti, who visits San Juan frequently since the CHA is headquartered in Puerto Rico.

The 2006 Caribbean Marketplace is expected to attract upwards of 1,200 attendees. Although some of them will have extended discounted accommodations, the majority will pay premium winter rates. Local hoteliers, restaurateurs, tour operators, and taxi drivers agree their business was good during two previous events held in San Juan. Puerto Rico tourism industry members estimated the event injects upwards of about $6 million into the local economy. They also pointed out the worldwide exposure the PRCC and Puerto Rico itself receives as a tourism destination is priceless.

San Juan also was recently chosen as the site of the Caribbean Tourism Association (CTO) 8th annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, to be held in the second quarter of 2006 (CB, May 5). This event is expected to attract more than 300 attendees from the Caribbean and abroad.

"We are very happy Puerto Rico is to be afforded in 2006 these two excellent opportunities to welcome to San Juan our friends from throughout the region as well as the many other hotel professionals from abroad," PRTC representative Espada Medina said in Barbados.

CHA has more than 800 members representing 127,000 rooms in 36 hotel associations throughout the region, including the PRHTA. It also has more than 400 allied members, among them airlines, tour operators, travel wholesalers, hotel and restaurant suppliers, and the media.

Global growth in Asia

While the U.S. has been winning the battle for the global pharmaceutical industry during the past 10 years, in the future, the center of gravity is likely to shift to Asia, according to Algerman. Asia currently generates 8% of global pharmaceutical industry sales. However, this will change because Asia accounts for 61% of the world’s population, whereas North America accounts for 5%. Angelmar said it isn’t sustainable for 5% of the world’s population to generate 50% of the sales of the future pharmaceutical industry.

"The growth of the pharmaceutical industry’s global opportunities is in China and India," said Angelmar. "In 2004, China’s pharmaceutical drug sales grew 28% compared to 7% for the total industry. What drives the pharmaceutical industry is market income. As a country becomes richer, it spends more of its worth on healthcare. So, Asia is very likely to become a growth factor and a dominant market."

"Since both China and India are moving to adopt intellectual property laws that will protect pharmaceutical drug patents, both countries soon may become dominant markets. Next, non-Asian pharmaceutical companies will begin investing heavily in this region. So, there is a good chance the pharmaceutical companies currently in Puerto Rico will play a big role in Asia," Angelmar said.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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