The president of the Saba Business Association, Wolfgang Tooten, and Saba boutique hotel owner, Hemmie van Xanten, participated in the NABHOOD Summit (National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers) July 27-29 in Miami. The theme was “Changing the Hospitality Landscape With Our Partners”.
The summit was exciting and packed with information to help the participants understand the many opportunities available in hotel ownership, investment and supplier diversity. The 3-day educational summit was designed to educate attendees on becoming a hotel owner or investor, share minority investment trends, explore supplier opportunities, learn how to market to minorities and discuss diversity issues affecting the industry.
Their participation was financed by the European Union COSME program and a special Caribbean small hotel owner insert.
Besides Tourism authorities of Statia and St. Maarten (minister of tourism Mr. Arrindell) many other islands like Anguilla and Montserrat were represented by local entrepreneurs. Furthermore the prime minister of the Bahamas attended and gave a speech related to tourism.
Very informative and fruitful seminars were offered to the participants. COSME especially accommodated several tailor-made seminars for the Caribbean business people with very capable and knowledgeable speakers.
Besides very good information the participants received, there was a possibility to showcase their islands via brochures at the trade show and lobby for their specific islands. Furthermore the matchmaking can’t be valued enough and many contacts and direct discussions could be set up and held during the breaks and after hours.
In general it can be said that it was very successful event and most if not all participants had a positive impression and countless new contacts that can lead to definitely to more tourism development on the participation island. The representatives from COSME were very helpful and well organized, made contacts easy by introducing the persons to their counterparts or new facilitated new business contacts. The organizer himself, Mr. Andy Ingraham, a former employee of the Dutch government in St. Maarten, was very comforting and constantly tried to facilitate contacts and by introducing the representatives of the islands to other business owners and companies active in the field.
The African American travel market is estimated to be 54 billion US dollars a year and the local tourism authorities and the local business owners should definitely keep this market segment in mind and target and attract this “new” group of travelers.
The Saba Business Association