Montego Bay, Jamaica, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the largest business-to-business marketing event for the region's tourism industry, officially kicked off on Sunday in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The event, held on Jan.12-14, matches suppliers with buyers in pre-scheduled appointments, allowing hotels, restaurants, tourist boards and transportation companies to meet with tour operators and wholesalers to discuss existing contracts and develop future business.
The event, hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association(CHTA), attracts more than 1,200 delegates, including tourism officials and government ministers, from almost 30 countries.
Since this is Jamaica's fourth time to host the 31-year-old trade show, the island's tourism minister, Wykeham McNeill, believes the 2014 event will serve as a platform to showcase Jamaica's own tourism draws.
Awarded Caribbean's Leading Destination and Caribbean's Leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards in 2013, Jamaica has seen new investment and transition in the hotel sector in recent months.
"Our destination has grown considerably since the event was last held here both in terms of our hotel rooms, and our attractions," said McNeil.
Last year's marketplace, which was held at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, saw more than 12,700 meetings, with 1,242 delegates from 22 countries. [ Since tourism remains the largest economic driving force in the Caribbean, this marketplace is considered incredibly valuable to the economy's growth and sustainability in the region.