|Hugh Riley, secretary general of the CTO, says LGBT travel in the Caribbean will be discussed at SOTIC|
LGBT travel within the Caribbean can be a touchy subject, especially among tourism officials from islands with deep-rooted religious beliefs.
But that won't keep the issue from being discussed at the upcoming State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) 2015 in Curacao, which is often considered the most LGBT-friendly island in the region.
"I think around the world, the LGBT market is still an issue that is being delegated," Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) told Travel Agent on Monday. "Whether that is fortunate or unfortunate, that is the reality. But it is an important subject that needs to be discussed."
The SOTIC will take place from October 21-23 at the World Trade Center in Willemstad to address the biggest concerns and opportunities for Caribbean tourism.
The CTO and Curacao planned a program that will include current issues - some controversial and vexing – as well as opportunities for substantially enhancing the Caribbean’s tourism sector.
The SOTIC usually brings together about 300 tourism industry leaders from the 30 member-countries of the CTO, as well as representatives of the regional and international private sector, academics, media, students, travel trade partners and other industry stakeholders from within and outside the region.
“Curacao is really hot right now,” says Riley. “They are aggressively attracting new airlift and they have the ability to satisfy the demands of a growing, more competitive market.”
In July of last year, JetBlue Airways announced its new non-stop service from New York to Curacao, making the airline the only carrier to offer nonstop flights from New York to Curacao. During the same month, Air Canada announced its new non-stop service from Montreal to Curacao, establishing the airline as the first to offer direct routes from Montreal to Curacao. That flight officially launched January 1 of this year.
“This is the first time Curacao is hosting a State of the Industry Conference, but we have had CTO conferences there in the past,” says Riley, “because Curacao is always paying attention to what is happening to tourism around the world.”
Anita Mendiratta to Speak at SOTIC 2015
Anita Mendiratta, author, strategic advisor in tourism and economic development, special advisor to the secretary general of the UNWTO, and lead consultant of CNN International’s T.A.S.K. GROUP (Tourism, Advertising, Solutions & Knowledge) will be at SOTIC 2015.
Register and Win
JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes will offer the keynote address, and other speakers include experts in search, social media, performance creative, data analytics, customer loyalty, and more.
Registrants will also have a chance to win at SOTIC. Anyone who registers to the event by October 13 will become eligible to wine one of four roundtrip tickets on JetBlue Airways to any JetBlue destination in the Caribbean. Winners will be announced and presented with their tickets at SOTIC.