Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), CHTA, Expedia Cares, and Kindustry commit to collaborate to create a sustainable, progressive, and globally competitive regional branding and marketing strategy for the Caribbean, that is built on data, best practices, and lessons learned as well as research and input from critical tourism stakeholders. Fundamental to the commitment is the establishment of the Caribbean Coalition for Tourism (CCT), a public-private sector organization that will replace and enhance earlier collaborative efforts between the CTO and the CHTA, and that is a direct result of the realized need for a single marketing entity using the value of a public-private partnership to aggressively promote the Caribbean tourism product on an ongoing basis. The CCT will serve as the administrative, financial, and marketing & communications lead for tourism in the region.
Recognizing prior shortcomings in creating a collaborative effort to market tourism in the past, the project’s partners commit to a process which draws upon the reputation and expertise of the region’s two leading tourism organizations, CTO and CHTA, the brand development expertise of Kindustry, and the corporate and nonprofit leadership of Expedia.
This commitment will be implemented through three strategies. (1) The CTO and CHTA will bring together industry stakeholders from the public and private sectors to form the CCT, to actively inform and fundraise for the brand development (2) Kindustry, through subsidized cost, will develop a more progressive, sustainable, and resilient branding and marketing communications platform. Through this process, Kindustry will specify the role of the CCT, develop a brand platform that will define brand position, customer archetypes and expression of brand essence, and, lastly, define the brand identity, through building a narrative and establishing creative guidelines. To support the launch of the branding initiative, Expedia has contributed seed funding, and will serve as an advisor. (3) All partners will work to identify and confirm the participation of three additional partners that will help sustain CCT effort through commitments to providing the financial and human resources essential to its success.
JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2019
Establish the CCT as a Legal Entity: (1) Identify legal expertise: by end of January; (2) Develop legal framework: by end of February.
Identify and Secure Funding Streams: (1) Identify initial commitments for stage 1 (current funding gap $30,000): by end of February; (2) Identify potential sustained funding streams: by end of February.
FEBRUARY - MARCH 2019
Establishing the CCT: Application submitted for approval of legal entity: in March.
Building the Branding and Communications Platform: (1) Building the case: ongoing and finalized by mid-February; (2) Research: ongoing, with preliminary data set synthesized by end of February; (3) Building the brand platform: finalized by end of March
Securing additional partners: (1) Creation of pitch deck for strategic investors: by mid-February; (2) Pitch meetings for initial commitments for stage 1 funding: mid-February ongoing thru the commitment; and (3) Pitch meetings for sustained funding streams: March ongoing thru the commitment.
Building the brand identity: finalized and shared with CTO & CHTA by mid-April
Pitch meetings for sustained funding streams: March ongoing thru the commitment.
The Caribbean is the world’s most travel and tourism dependent region. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2016 travel and tourism accounted for 15.2% of the Caribbean’s total GDP and 13.8% of regional employment. In approximately half of the Caribbean countries, the tourism industry accounted for more than 25% of GDP, which is more than double the world average of 10.4%. Subsequently, the socio-economic development of the region is closely tied to the industry’s success. A stronger tourism economy helps grow tax revenue in addition to creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
The Caribbean tourism industry however has faced significant challenges, limiting its growth. Most notably, the 2017 hurricanes, while directly affecting less than one-quarter of the region, had an economic impact upon the entire region. As consumers and the external trade perceived the entire Caribbean was devastated, visitors were deterred from the region. According to WTTC, the 2017 hurricane season brought 826,100 fewer visitors than had been predicted. This decrease in visitors cost the region approximately $741M. Looking to other regions that have experienced natural disasters, the tourism industry can feel the effects of a disaster for years.
Despite these challenges, there is an obvious need and opportunity to restore and grow the Caribbean travel and tourism industry, with the New York Times listing Puerto Rico as its number one place to visit in 2019, airlines adding flights to the Caribbean, and, according to the Caribbean Hotel and Travel Association, over 50% of the hotels affected by the 2017 hurricane season have reopened. Furthermore, there are new travel and tourism trends emerging, as visitors seek out more authentic, immersive, and sustainable experiences. Therefore, there is an opportunity for the Caribbean travel and tourism industry to showcase the geographic, historical, and ecological diversity of the region and to strengthen the overall tourism product, by re-branding the experience and making the market more resilient to future disasters.