Caribbean Tourism Organization(CTO) Week

09 June 2014 / By travel4foodfun@gmail.com
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We enjoy tasting different foods, engaging in exciting activities and learning about different regions and the people that make them unique. Ultimately, we just want to have fun with individuals we encounter during our travels (as well as in daily life)!

One region that is particularly special to us is the Caribbean. We have travelled to the region several times in the last few years and loved each of our trips. Recently, we were invited to travel to New York City to participate in their annual Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Week , which took place from June 1-7, 2014.  Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is the region’s tourism development agency, consisting of 30 country members. With roots dating back to 1951, CTO was officially established in 1989. The organization is dedicated to working with its’ country members to develop sustainable tourism throughout the region.

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Caribbean Week was an incredible 7-day event that enabled the 30 country members to highlight their unique offerings to businesses, press, and the public at a number of venues. Tom and I participated in the Caribbean Media Marketplace, which enabled us, along with other press channels, to speak one-on-one with representatives from a multitude of Caribbean countries. We knew that each island is unique, but this event allowed us to learn how truly distinctive each country is in its’ food, culture, and activities. Since we are “travel4foodfun”, we were excited to talk with representatives about the unique cuisine and spirits of each island. Also, we love to SCUBA and learned about the incredible and distinctive dive sites available. Although we love to relax on the beach or by the pool, we also enjoy discovering the island and engaging in unique activities. Each island truly is different from their neighbor, allowing for different experiences for the traveler. Participating in the Caribbean Media Marketplace was an incredible learning opportunity for us! We cannot wait to travel to the islands and share the unique food, activities, and culture of each destination.

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To top off our Caribbean Week experience, we were able to attend the Rum and Rhythm Benefit and Auction, which offer scholarships to Caribbean nationals to study tourism, hospitality, and languages. This event was touted as “The Ultimate Caribbean Cultural and Epicurean Experience”. We completely agree with this! When we arrived at the venue, Tribeca 360, we were amazed by the incredible view of the city. The sunny day turned into a glorious evening, which provided an amazing backdrop for the benefit. Many of the countries hosted booths at the event. Each booth showcased their country’s food and drink specialty. We sampled amazing food and rum offerings. For those who prefer vodka to rum, Curacao offered an amazing punch that was a vodka (and Curacao!) based cocktail. Incredible island music kept the spirit fun and lively. Tom and I had so much fun talking with chefs and island representatives about their culinary and cocktail specialties. There is no better way to learn about people than through food and drink! We had a wonderful time celebrating the Caribbean islands. It truly was a magical evening!

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Tom and I are always searching for new experiences. We have both traveled throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, but we are drawn to the Caribbean. The Caribbean is easily accessible from the US, but feels worlds away. Attending Caribbean week opened our eyes even more to the remarkable offerings of the islands. We are particularly surprised by the distinctive cuisine of each country. Being “foodies”, this is very exciting for us! We are also excited to dive and see the different sites throughout the Caribbean. And, of course, we want to learn more about the people that truly make each island distinct. We are looking forward to exploring the numerous Caribbean islands and sharing our experiences in the very near future!

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