Jens Thraenhart Is New CEO of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

The board of directors of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) has announced the appointment of Jens Thraenhart as the chief executive officer of the island’s destination marketing agency, with effect from November 1, 2021. Thraenhart, a tourism veteran of 26 years, emerged as the top candidate from an initial pool of 178 candidates of from around the world. The list included 20 applications from Barbados and 27 from the wider Caribbean region. The search and selection process were undertaken by Profiles Caribbean Inc. and a sub-committee of the board and industry professionals. The agency also conducted proactive outreach to regional and international industry partners of the BTMI.

The announcement will likely usher in a new era for the organization, the BTMI says, one that will see it transition to a more commercial marketing enterprise, which is reshaping its operations to better compete in the new pandemic era of global tourism. Thraenhart is a German Canadian tourism practitioner, versed in global tourism strategy and execution, and leadership experience from North America to Asia, having worked for the Canadian Tourism Commission (now Destination Canada) and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (now part of Accor). Most recently, he served as the executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, appointed by the sixmember governments in Southeast Asia for four consecutive two-year terms. During his tenure of almost eight years, he designed various campaigns and initiatives, and created the private-sector tourism board Destination Mekong to foster public-private partnership collaboration. He is conversational in three languages, including English, French and German, as well as basic Spanish, Thai and Mandarin. Thraenhart also brings a wealth of experience executing innovative technology solutions in tourism marketing. An expert in China outbound tourism, Thraenhart co-founded the travel technology agency Dragon Trail, authored the “China Travel Trends” books in 2010 and 2012, and chaired the China Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) while living in Beijing for five years.

Thraenhart is the second vice chair of the affiliate members board of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and has served on industry boards, including the PATA, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMAI) and the International Federation of IT and Travel and Tourism (IFITT), bringing key stakeholder relationships in key target markets for Barbados tourism. An MBA graduate of Cornell University, he is currently working on his doctorate thesis with a focus on “strengthening tourism integration resilience via stakeholder collaboration” at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Confirming the appointment in a press release, chairperson of the BTMI, Roseanne Myers said, “The team at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. has done a great job of reopening markets, using their knowledge and experience and established trade relationships. We believe that coupled with Jens’ international tourism experience, proven track record in strategy execution and entrepreneurial perspectives, the BTMI will emerge from this period of the pandemic, a much stronger, high-performing destination marketing company that brings increased benefit to our industry and the wider economy.”

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