Caribbean Tourism Organisation Rhytm never stopsThe Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) delivered a message of unity, resilience and progressive brand awareness at its dedicated WTM conference.

Dominic Fedee, the recently elected chairman of the CTO (and minister of tourism for Saint Lucia) and secretary general Hugh Riley were on hand to present the newly launched ‘The Rhythm Never Stops’ campaign - a joint marketing initiative between The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the CTO – and deliver some of the key motivators behind the initiative.

Addressing the challenges that were presented when two category five hurricanes hit the Caribbean last year, Riley said: “Some of our countries took it on the chin but they are on their way back - they are at different stages of recovery, but you will see how far we've come, firing on all cylinders again. One of the things we have done to get the interest of the consumer public as well as the trade around the world is make sure that people understand that nothing stops the Caribbean and to create a campaign which says in the Caribbean ‘The Rhythm Never Stops'.

Deliberately capturing a branding image of the Caribbean in its entirety and not just of any one specific destination, it’s reported that the social media campaign has already surpassed its initial target and will continue to play centrepiece to the organisation’s short-term marketing initiative.

It was highlighted that it had been a ‘mixed bag’ of results for the Caribbean with year-to-date numbers, from January to June, suggesting that the islands which were not affected by the hurricane had grown approximately 3% overall, whilst those that had been counted a decline of 1.2 million in stayover arrivals. In that same period the UK fell by 1.2%. Fedee added however that: “Out of crisis comes opportunity and we were able to come up with ‘The Rhythm Never Stops’ campaign. I believe the Caribbean is one of the strongest travel brands and perhaps the most underutilised, so we've now got to use a mechanism by which we can have a long-term marketing arrangement.”

ABTA’s director of destination and sustainability, Nikki White, was also on hand to deliver some insights into some of the key travel motivators for UK holidaymakers further highlighting some positive signs of growth for summer 2019 into the Caribbean.

In an exclusive comment to Travel Bulletin, Hugh Riley concluded: “The Caribbean is extremely grateful for the help we receive from the travel trade - travel agents in the UK and from around the world have rallied round the Caribbean in good times and in bad. We are also aware of all the research that shows that travel agents have an increased role in decision making as far as holiday destinations are concerned; 15 years ago people were questioning whether that would be the case, today it is fairly obvious that travel agents are enormously influential in holiday destination decisions. We pay a lot of attention to the partnership that we have with the travel trade and travel agents specifically because we know that we will never reach our full potential without their support."

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