NEW YORK, New York, June 12, 2009 – Today, keynote speaker Philip Wolf, president and CEO of PhoCusWright, Inc. and a panel of travel industry experts discussed the current economic climate’s effects on travelers and what the future holds for travel industry professionals at the Caribbean Marketing Conference, part of Caribbean Week in New York 2009 (

            The conference began with Philip Wright’s discussion on “Current and Future Trends Shaping the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.”  Wright’s expertise in travel distribution strategy, technology and innovation has made him a sought-after speaker around the world. His discussion today stressed the fact that consumers are becoming more familiar with social media as a research tool when booking vacations. With more information available to consumers now than ever before, hotels and destinations should embrace this new from of media and use it to their advantage. He also highlighted that the Caribbean’s biggest competition is currently not other vacation destinations, but more practical purchases like home improvements and staycations. He emphasized the importance of the Caribbean working together as a region versus each island competing for a piece of business. He concluded his address by stressing the importance of leveraging lessons learned during uncertain economic times to develop a distinct new edge to become fully prepared for the future. He noted that “a new revolution is dawning” and that the industry must adapt to continue succeeding.

The following panel discussion, “Mindset of Today’s Vacation Traveler and Doing More with Less” was moderated by David Pavelke, travel director of Google. Panelists included Noreen Courtney-Wilds, vice president of sales and distribution for JetBlue Airways Corporation, Paul Gilberto, executive vice president and chief brand development officer for Fitzgerald+CO and Laurdes Hainlin, director of Starwood Caribbean Collection. Topics covered included how to position a brand to today’s consumer and pricing rooms and packages with value-added details. Focus points of the discussion were about spending habits on necessity versus the luxury. For example, the majority of vacations booked in 2009 are driven by the deal as opposed to factors such as family-friendly, cultural or romantic. For the vacation industry to thrive and pull through the unstable economy, professionals must adapt to consumer’s mindsets without sacrificing a brand’s reputation.

            “This conference was a highly-anticipated part of Caribbean Week,” stated Hugh Riley, interim secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). “The presentations provoked stimulating conversation surrounding what lies ahead for the Caribbean and the travel industry in general and I thank all the talented members of the panel as well as Philip Wright for such a successful conference.”

            For more information on Caribbean Week in New York 2009, visit: or call 212-635-9530 to speak to a representative from the Caribbean Tourism Development Company.


Sponsors of this year’s Caribbean Week in New York include Jamaica, Brides, The New York Times, Modern Bride, Empire State Building and Travelocity.


About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with the headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency and comprises membership of over 30 governments and a myriad of private sector entities.


The CTO’s mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people.

The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and statistics, information technology and sustainable tourism development.  The CTO disseminates information on behalf of its member governments to consumers and the travel trade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.