Punta Cana: A record number 300-plus top executives from regional and international hotel and real estate groups based in the Caribbean, South America, Europe, China, and the United States attended the 3rd annual Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS). The conference, held Nov. 7-8 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, was organized by HVS, the leading global hospitality consulting firm, in partnership with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), representing over 600 Caribbean hotels, and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) representing over 30 Caribbean governments. This was the first time a Caribbean partnership of public, private, and professional entities hosted such an event.
“CHICOS has proven the ideal environment in which investors, developers, governments and lenders can meet and promote the Caribbean region as a hospitality investment opportunity,” states Parris Jordan, Managing Director of HVS Bahamas and Chairman of the CHICOS conference. “We have welcomed key industry players, executives from major international holdings, and investors to explore new projects, develop business contacts and relationships.”
The Conference opened with presentations about the global economic outlook as well as the hotel and tourism industries in the Caribbean specifically. Presentations by Mr. Jordan, as well as Stephen Rushmore, Jr., President and CEO of HVS; Carter Wilson, Director of STR Analytics; and Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economic, depicted an economic outlook that bodes well for future development and growth in the region.
“On a very positive note, the overall market continues to strengthen and the increases seen in RevPAR are being driven by gains in average rate,” according to Jordan. “The region’s hospitality and tourism industry generates over $20 billion in revenue each year. With such a strong impact on the economies of the 32 nations making up the Caribbean, this sector is the most important in the region.” Jordan acknowledged the strongest RevPAR growth has been witnessed in the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Barbados through September 2013. CHICOS host nation, the Dominican Republic, led the region for 2012 visitor arrivals.
The conference featured numerous panel discussions composed of prominent executives in the industry. Participants included Dr. Adam Wu, Chief Operating Officer, China Business Network; David Brillembourg, Chairman, Brilla Group; Frank Elias Rainieri, Jr., Vice President of Business Development & Real Estate, Grupo Punta Cana; Dr. Jean Alain Rodriguez, Secretary of State & Executive Director, Centro de Exportación y Inversión de la República Dominicana (CEI-RD); John Keith, Managing Partner, Caribe Hospitality; Nelson Parker, Head of Development – Hotels & Casinos, The Americas, Hard Rock International; Salim Danji, Executive Vice President, Solid Rock Advisors; Stan Hartling, Chief Executive Officer, The Hartling Group; and Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin, Minister of Tourism, Haitian Ministry of Tourism, among many others.
“We are delighted that CHICOS was such a success. The event successfully brought together hoteliers from around the Caribbean, who learned about opportunities to enhance their tourism product. CHICOS put them in contact with developers, bankers and leaders of other investment institutions, who were made aware of investment opportunities in the Caribbean” said Richard J. Doumeng, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. "Our new and exciting partnership with HVS for CHICOS attracted serious decision makers from all sectors of the tourism economy.
CHICOS 2014 venue, location and date are to be announced shortly. Photos and video footage of the event are available upon request. For more information about CHICOS, visit www.hvschicos.com