ST. LUCIA – National efforts towards St. Lucia’s hosting of the 2009 Caribbean Marketplace, is being intensified, as the time inches closer to January 18, when the event kicks off with a grand opening at the Gaiety on Rodney Bay.
Saint Lucia is the first OECS country to host Caribbean Marketplace which will be held at the Pigeon Island National Landmark on January 19 and 20.. Over 16,000 business meetings have been scheduled for the event, which will take the form of ten-minute appointments in each of more than 400 booths.
The mega tourism marketing event, will gather hundreds of private and public sector tourism representatives from various destinations, to discuss existing contracts and develop packages and contracts for future business.
Tourism Minister Senator the Honourable Allen Chastanet, has called on Saint Lucian businesses to maximize the opportunities that will be presented by Caribbean Marketplace. Senator Chastanet who has been attending the event for the past eleven years, said that Caribbean Marketplace is yet to take full advantage of what the Caribbean has to offer.
“We think that the idea of doing business on the beach, with the glass fronts, putting up the picnic benches and allowing participants to be exposed to what makes the Caribbean so beautiful is really going to be of much added value,” noted Senator Chastanet.
Visitors to Saint Lucia could anticipate a spectacular opening and closing which will be done by Landmark Events.
“It is a showcase of St. Lucia as well, so we are hoping to have aspects of our Amerindian culture. We are using petroglyph design, rain forest design, sounds and smells to excite all of the senses that are connected with the rain forest; so we will have orchids and stuff like that,” said Adrian Augier of Landmark Events
The Saint Lucia Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism are collaborating to fund the event which is expected to cost Saint Lucia 2 million dollars. However, because of the magnitude of the event, additional sponsorship will be needed. Accella Marketing is responsible for promoting and coordinating local sponsorship and has been successful in getting over fifteen sponsors, whose contributions in cash and kind are critical to a successful staging of the event.