Caribbean Week Kicks Off June 9 in NYC

With Caribbean Week less than a month away, Travel Agent spoke with Hugh Riley, marketing director of the Americas for the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), to find out what agents, operators and consumers can expect for the event that kicks off June 9 in New York and runs through June 17.  Hugh Riley, marketing director, Americas

Riley, in his fifth year as head of the CTO, says the event is technically in its 37th year, but the Caribbean Week that industry representatives know today—a week full of events, meetings and fairs to promote the warm weather hot spot—is entering its fifth year.

"Caribbean Week in New York has three fundamental objectives," Riley told Travel Agent. "One is to create events that generate a significant amount of positive publicity for the Caribbean. The second is to create a platform for the sale of Caribbean vacations and to seek every opportunity to not just excite people to visit, but to also show them how to plan a vacation there. And the third is to provide opportunities for the private and public sectors to take advantage of the week, to use the publicity to show off their business, to tell the world how they sell the Caribbean."

Before Riley took over, the week consisted primarily of private meetings. Now, the event consists of everything from weddings to sporting events to music and encouraging participation from both the public and private sectors.

"We learned that the more exciting it is, the more imaginative the event is, the more people will get involved," Riley says.

For more information on Caribbean Week, visit

Here's a sneak peek of what the week has in store for anyone looking to participate:

Celebrity Cricket Match

A Celebrity Cricket Match will take place at the Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 9. The event will feature past, present and emerging players from West Indies cricket teams playing all-stars from New York area cricket leagues. Caribbean art, food and novelty items will be on sale.

Caribbean Gospel Brunch

Themed "Caribbean Culture on the Sound," the Caribbean Gospel Brunch will feature performances by Trinidad and Tobago native Gerard Placide, three-time winner of McDonald's Gospelfest and solo winner of the World Championship of Performing Arts; entertainment by the South Street Steel Orchestra; the A Fe We Culture Ensemble; and a motivational presentation. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Caribbean Island Restaurant in CityIsland in the Bronx.

Caribbean Celebrity Chefs

The work of Caribbean celebrity chefs will be presented from June 9 to June 16. Those featured will include chefs from world-class resorts of the Caribbean. They'll prepare distinctive Caribbean dishes at prestigious and acclaimed New York City restaurants whose customers match the profile of potential Caribbean vacationers.

Town Hall Meetings

On June 11, Caribbean tourism ministers interact with their New York-based constituents in discussions led by popular moderators during the town hall meetings. Any aspect of tourism may be covered. Promotional materials and special offers will be available to people interested in vacationing in the Caribbean. These meetings will be held in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Caribbean Fair

The South Street Seaport will be the site of the Caribbean Fair from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 12. Booths staffed by CTO countries and private sector partners will display promotional materials, indigenous products and other items representative of the Caribbean.

Beach Volleyball Tournament

As a prelude to the First Annual Caribbean Beach Volleyball Championship on Nov 3-4 in Puerto Rico, there will be a series of qualifying matches from June 16 to June 17 at the end of the week in Long Beach, NY.

Caribbean Media Marketplace

The Caribbean Media Marketplace will take place from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on June 13 at the New York Marriott Marquis. This event is aimed at providing CTO member governments, the Caribbean Hotel Association and private sector exhibitors the opportunity to interact with writers and other professionals from the trade and consumer press.