Heavy Hitters announced for Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – An influential Minister of Tourism, an enlightened Executive Director of Tourism, an expert in Caribbean Diaspora relations, a specialist in branding small hotels, a renowned American journalist, and an expert in the faith tourism market are among the headliners of the 12th full edition of Counterpart International’s Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) set for the Holiday Inn San Juan in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico, from May 15 to 19, 2008.

Senator Allen Chastanet

Organizers confirmed that Senator Allen Chastanet, St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation who doubles as the chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, will join the award-winning Terestella Gonz├ílez Denton, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company to lead a line-up of reporters, editors, young people, development specialists and industry experts as they explore the theme “Embracing the Diaspora, Connecting Communities.”

“Puerto Rico is set to host one of the most exciting meetings we have had in under seven years,” said Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart International, who said the exchange will also hear from Irwine Clare, managing director of the New York-based Caribbean Immigrant Services; Caribbean-American brand specialist Caroline Racine of Choice Hotels International; journalist and author Andria Hall of SpeakEasy M.E.D.I.A.; and Kevin Wright, President of the World Religious Travel Association.

Recognizing the increasing demand from media and youth fellowships to attend the meeting, LeLaulu noted the competition had been extremely keen and a number of new and seasoned delegates are set to meet in San Juan this Spring.

“In Puerto Rico, we will examine how tourism can improve the health, wealth, environment and culture of destinations,” noted LeLaulu, who announced that participants from Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Nicaragua, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States and the host country are confirmed.

The huge but often ignored buying power of African-Americans will be discussed by Michael Deflorimonte, a marketing professional with more than 20 years of marketing and business development experience having served as a Vice President of Charles Schwab and Co. where he developed and directed their nationwide African American Investor Services group.

“The buying power of African-Americans is expected to exceed a trillion dollars over the next several years. This projection along with an affinity for the Caribbean make African-Americans prime candidates for Caribbean tourism efforts,” said Deflorimonte, whose parents are from the CARICOM nation of Guyana.

The similarly overlooked economic heft of the upwardly mobile and influential Hispanic American market will be addressed by highly respected Puerto Rican public relations executive Nelly Cruz.

The upcoming CMEx meeting, produced by Counterpart International, is supported by Almond Resorts, Association of Caribbean Media Workers, The Barbara Pyle Foundation, Bay Gardens Resorts, Black Entertainment Television (BET J), Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC), Caribbean World News Network, Choice Hotels International, Coco Resorts, Counterpart Caribbean, Jamaica Tourist Board, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Ruder Finn and SpeakEasy M.E.D.I.A.

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