Tri-state area residents will have the Caribbean closer to home this spring when Caribbean Week in New York 2009 ( returns to the Big Apple from June 8-12, 2009, following a one-year hiatus. Organized by the Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC), Caribbean Week in New York brings together the most influential policy makers, marketing professionals and tourism industry officials to interact and discuss both tourism and investment opportunities in the region. It also serves to provide a taste of the Caribbean to inspire travel and showcase the Region’s diversity to more than 10,000 attendees who participate in a number of targeted events hosted throughout the week.

“We’re excited to bring Caribbean Week back to New York City after our 2008 hiatus,” said Hugh Riley, interim secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and co-chief operating officer for the Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC). “This year’s program promises to engage consumers, the Diaspora community, trade professionals, meeting planners and media by providing valuable destination information in the form of seminars, a media marketplace, an incentive showcase, gala celebrations and interactive cultural events, many of which are open to the public.”

Caribbean Week in New York will follow the Second Annual Caribbean Tourism Summit (ACTS) in Washington, D.C. on June 9-10, 2009. Taking the lead from last year’s successful inaugural event, this year’s business-focused summit will include meetings on Capitol Hill as well as internal meetings between CTO and CHTA officials attended by delegates from the Caribbean region.

ACTS provides a major forum in which to focus on the economic future of the Caribbean by engaging political leaders, financial decision-makers and investors. One of its primary objectives is to bring the services industry in the region, of which tourism is a part, to the forefront of development discussions.

Following ACTS, the Caribbean will descend upon New York City with a celebration of the sights, sounds, colors, culture and unique vacation attributes of the Caribbean. A series of celebrity chef demonstrations will take place beginning on Monday, June 8 at retail locations such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s where renowned chefs from the region’s world-class resorts will spice up the city with Caribbean flair and flavor. The celebrity chef program is one of the most highly-anticipated of Caribbean Week in New York as consumers will be able to sample their distinctive cuisine all week long.

Other highlights of Caribbean Week 2009 include:

Wednesday, June 10
· Caribbean Fair: This vibrant celebration invites New Yorkers and beyond to Manhattan’s Bowling Green Park on Wednesday, June 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to enjoy a wealth of destination exhibits, Caribbean performers, artisans and celebrity chef demonstrations with tastings at this free event, open to the public. A Caribbean Vacation Mart will offer vacations at specially reduced prices available for purchase exclusively at the Caribbean Fair, which will also host a Caribbean Wedding sponsored by and the Caribbean Bridal Expo. In addition, senior government tourism officials will join New York City officials to commemorate the kick-off to Caribbean Week during a special opening ceremony.

Thursday, June 11
· Caribbean Media Awards Luncheon: Attended by Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism and Board of Directors as well as award-winning media, this luncheon from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m., honors US- and Caribbean-based consumer and trade media that have captured the essence of the Caribbean in their storytelling.
· Caribbean Media Marketplace: On Thursday, June 11 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., the media are invited to have one-on-one interactions with tourism officials, hotels, tour operators and airline representatives to gain valuable product information about the Caribbean.
· A Workshop for Travel Agents: Running concurrently with the media marketplace, this special workshop will offer niche market presentations on “Weddings and Honeymoons” to a select group of travel agents invited by CTO, its Chapters and member countries.
· Caribbean Treats: Food, Rum and Rhythm: In celebration of the Caribbean region’s award-winning rums, Caribbean Week will feature this festive event from 6:30 – 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 11 at a venue to be determined. The ticketed event will include a sampling of premium Caribbean rums and rum cocktails showcased by master distillers, authors, celebrity chefs and mixologists, traditional Caribbean hospitality, musical performances and a silent auction including “one of a kind” vacations to the Caribbean. All guests must be at least 21 years of age.

Friday, June 12
· Caribbean Marketing Conference and Allied Awards Luncheon: Hosted by the CTO Allied members in conjunction with ATME, this conference will be attended by Ministers, Commissioners and Directors of Tourism as well as senior tourism industry representatives from the private sector on Friday, June 12 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at a venue yet to be determined.
· Caribbean Meeting and Incentive Travel Showcase: New to the Caribbean Week program this year, this showcase will be hosted in association with Black Meetings and Tourism to target the meeting, incentive, conference and exposition marketers by sharing the unique experiences available for these specialized groups in the Caribbean. The showcase will take place on Friday, June 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at a venue yet to be determined.
· Annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball and Awards Presentation: As the official closing event to Caribbean Week in New York, this elegant black-tie affair, now in its 36th year, will be held at The Plaza Hotel on Friday, June 12 from 7:00 p.m. to Midnight. Visiting celebrity chefs will prepare the elaborate dinner which is held under the auspices of the CTO Foundation. In addition to Caribbean entertainment, highlights of the evening include the presentations of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Special Recognition Award and Excellence Award bestowed upon individuals in honor of their contributions to the region.