Jamaica Tourist Board's John Lynch poses with attendees at CMITE's opening reception, hosted by Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall
Sunday, October 10, saw the close of the inaugural Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange (CMITE). With an overwhelming amount of proposals and RFPs delivered during four days of one-to-one appointments and non-stop networking, the event was considered a huge success. Conducted from October 7-10 at Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall in Jamaica, CMITE brought together Caribbean suppliers and top producing North American meeting and incentive buyers to build solid relationships for future business.
“Jamaica was pleased to host the inaugural Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange, allowing buyers to experience the island first-hand while displaying a wide variety of options available for meeting and incentive groups,” stated Marcia Bullock-Jobson, regional director, groups and conventions for the Jamaica Tourist Board. “Additionally, the event provided an opportunity for the Caribbean to showcase the region as a premier destination for the MICE market.”
Organizers have received praise for the ability to produce a first-class event while delivering an efficient use of time and resources for both buyers and suppliers. “Attendees are reporting that the CMITE format of one-to-one appointments provides a localized venue for sourcing and leads for future Caribbean programs maximizing valuable time away from the office,” remarked Alicia Evanko-Lewis, vice president of tradeshows and events for the Incentive Travel Exchange portfolio. “As with sister event, Incentive Travel Exchange, we are confident that CMITE will become a must-attend event for buyers and suppliers with Caribbean business to remain competitive in today’s economy.”
Caribbean Meeting and Incentive Travel Exchange drew 50 meeting and incentive buyers from across North America and China. Buyers have reported multiple explanations for attending. Reasons included the availability to meet with multiple Caribbean islands in one location, the opportunity to pre-select suppliers of their interest and the ability to conduct real dialogue in a private setting. “The Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange allowed me to have a real exchange with suppliers, sharing the requirements of our planning team and our clients, and learning directly from each supplier how their offerings meet our needs," shared Barb Crawford, manager of product development for Sunquest Meetings & Incentives. “As the Caribbean is the number one destination for Canadian incentive programs, it was imperative for me to participate. There really is no other event that covers the Caribbean so thoroughly and comprehensively.”
“I walked away with more proposals than I have ever done in the past,” commented Sharon Naehring, director of group sales, Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach and Westin Casuarina Grand Cayman. “It is a win-win when there is undivided attention with zero distractions or interruptions like what you find at an open-air trade show. The organizers do all the work for me and deliver qualified planners!” The hand-selected group of 50 Caribbean suppliers included: hotels and resorts, spas, destinations, tour operators, destination management companies, and cruise lines.
Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange will return to Jamaica in the fall of 2011 with locations and dates to be announced soon. North American buyers interested in participating in the 2011 event should contact Bernadette Mari at 212.895.8264 or [email protected]; suppliers should contact Alicia Evanko at 212.895.8266 or [email protected].