MIAMI (August 30, 2016) – Some of the world’s leading travel, tourism and hospitality experts
will be participating in the upcoming Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA)
Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) slated for the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico from September 30 to October 2, 2016.
“There is a tremendous amount of expertise, ingenuity and talent within our industry and we
are tapping into that at CHIEF,” said Frank Comito, CEO of the regional private sector
organization. Conference presenters include Marriott Hotels’ Diana Plazas, Vice President
Brand, Marketing & Digital for Latin America & the Caribbean, as well as Veronica Stoddart, the
former Travel Editor of USA Today who serves as Executive Editor in Residence at Percepture
Travel whose President René Mack will also attend the regional parley.
In addition to Gerard “Jerry” Inzerillo, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, who will keynote the
opening of the event, CHIEF attendees will hear from Duane Vinson, STR Vice President and
Assistant Director of the STR SHARE Center; Sanovnik Destang, Executive Director, Bay Gardens
Resorts and President, St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association; Shawn Sullivan, Policy Lead for
Central America and the Caribbean for AirBnB; and Ting Ting Yan, Senior Marketing Strategist at
Umang Gupta, President of JetBlue Getaways and Sara Lindenfeld, Sustainability Analyst with
JetBlue Airways also join the line-up of speakers along with Kerry Cannon, Managing Director,
MMGY Global. Some of the regional industry leaders who will share their expertise and best
practices are: Ewald Biemans, Managing Director/Owner, Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts in
Aruba; Stuart Bowe, Sr. Vice President & General Manager, Atlantis, Paradise Island in the
Bahamas; Scott Hart, General Manager, Peter Island Resort & Spa in the British Virgin Islands;
Roseanne Myers, General Manager of Atlantis Submarines and Chairman of the Barbados Hotel
and Tourism Association; and Karen Whitt, General Manager, The Palms in Turks & Caicos.
“We have an incredible line-up of presenters to take us through three days of educational
discussions aimed at making businesses better,” said Vanessa Ledesma, Chief Operations
Officer of CHTA. “Throughout the sessions at CHIEF, we will provide all the tools that you can
take back to your property, to your business, to your destination, and activate them
immediately,” she assured.
At the general sessions, CHIEF will review the state of the Caribbean’s lifeblood industry and
provide valuable insight about the future focused on trends, consumer interest, and
expectations. One general session topic on the sharing economy will help hoteliers understand
consumer-driven dynamics that are at play and changes to the accommodations sector with the
rapid rise of companies like Airbnb.
Exemplary companies and individuals will be recognized for hospitality-related
accomplishments at the CHIEF Awards. “This is very important in one of the words that
describes CHIEF: Exchange. It’s all about the opportunity to share best practices and have peers
learn from others,” said Ledesma.
Other sessions at this year’s CHIEF conference will focus on Environmental Sustainability,
Operations, Sales and Marketing, and Technology.
To encourage attendance at the annual gathering, CHTA has priced registration fees at an
affordable level, and the host hotel and airlines have extended special industry rates and
CHIEF incorporates a variety of educational tracks led by experts from many travel, tourism and
hospitality industry segments, and features round table panels with one-on-one discussions on
Environmental Sustainability, Operations, Sales and Marketing, and Technology. CHIEF is staged
by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in conjunction with host sponsors
Interval International and JetBlue Getaways; platinum sponsor Travelzoo; and gold sponsors
Bonnier Corporation, CaribbeanJobs.com, Choice Hotels International, Clear Channel Airports
Division, Johnson Controls, Lutron Electronics, OBM International, Oracle Hospitality,
Rainmaker, SiteMinder, Sojern, STR, TravAlliance Media, TravelClick, Tropical Shipping, and TSA
Solutions. For additional information about CHIEF, visit www.chtachief.com or call +1 305 443-