During a conference call with Travel Agent and other travel media, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Travel Leaders Group jointly announced a new travel agent and consumer-awareness campaign to promote Caribbean destinations that are open for business for fall and winter travel.
The “One Caribbean Family Ambassador” campaign will include resources and up-to-the-minute information for Travel Leaders Group’s more than 40,000 travel agents about availability and conditions, as well as social media tools and consumer education and awareness materials.
“While we recognize that the hurricane season has been devastating for many Caribbean islands, if travelers avoid these unaffected destinations, the economic impact within the entire region will be compounded and there will be even more of an impact both economically and personally,” says Ninan Chacko, CEO of the Travel Leaders Group.
Chacko cited Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Curacao, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and St. Lucia as island that are ready now. The CTO, however, has also cited scores of other islands that weren’t majorly affected, including Turks and Caicos, Martinique, Antigua, Grenada and the Dominican Republic.
“At this point, it might be easier to say the islands that were affected as opposed to the ones that weren’t because so many more weren’t,” says Johnson Johnrose, the CTO’s press director.
The destinations that were affected the most, according to the CTO, were St. Maarten/St. Martin, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Dominica and Anguilla.
Travel Leaders Group’s annual Fall Travel Trends survey based on actual booking data through September 11, show a 15.6% increase in bookings by American travelers for cruises to the Caribbean islands, moving Caribbean cruises into the top spot among international destinations from second place last year.
Travel Leaders Group is also raising money to assist travel industry members and affected communities impacted by the hurricane through its Family Bonds Foundation. To date, Family Bonds has raised more than $45,000 for hurricane relief assistance.
“Travel agencies play a key role in the economic life of a community. We are encouraging our agents to nominate agencies in need of assistance to rebuild their businesses,” said Chacko.
Visit www.familybondsfoundation.com and www.onecaribbean.org. Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.