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CTO: Authentic Caribbean experiences driving influences for travelers’ holiday plans


Today’s traveler demands a more authentic cultural experience and is exploring destinations that highlight artistic, musical, culinary, literary, social, religious and political attributes. Countries in tune with the trend will amplify its appeal and increase market share and revenue.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Tourism Marketing Conference will feature a line-up of some of the most innovative minds who will address ways of “Leveraging the Cultural Excitement of the Caribbean” so that countries develop tourism-specific plans enveloping the centuries-old history of Caribbean culture and ultimately moving the region to the forefront of this burgeoning market trend.

Scheduled during Caribbean Week New York, the event will take place on Wednesday, 5 June 2019, 8:30 – 2 p.m. at Wyndham New Yorker (481 Eighth Avenue). The conference, which targets Caribbean tourism leaders, marketers and practitioners, is organised by the CTO allied members and will be moderated by Colin C. James, CEO of Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority.

Presenting the keynote address, John Peters, founder of Mind Mashery, will speak about “Culture Tourism and Investment.” A panel discussion will follow Peters’ keynote presentation and will feature:

• Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, co-executive director, CaFA/Third Horizon, will be speaking about The Magic of Film around the Caribbean.

• Maria Atanasov, brand director, MSC Cruises, will discuss the topic Cultural Heritage and its Impact on Tourism Dollars.

• Russell Zingale, president, eastern region, USIM, and Eran Goren, president, digital media/executive vice president communications, USIM will speak about The Programmatic and Retargeting Brief.

John Peters is the founder of Mind Mashery, a solutions-oriented consulting firm focused on the travel, hospitality and travel tech industries for both startup and established companies. Prior to forming Mind Mashery, Peters was the president of Travel Media Group at USA Today and led the team efforts around developing and implementing the company’s digital transformation strategy. He also served as the senior vice president of digital strategy and business development for Rand McNally and launched many successful programmes. Peters has been recognised by the U.S. Travel Association, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), is a frequent speaker and moderator at international conferences and has appeared numerous times in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, ABC News, MSNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

Jason Fitzroy Jeffers is co-executive director at CaFA/Third Horizon, a Miami-based collective of Caribbean filmmakers, musicians and artists. As a writer, Jeffers has covered arts, lifestyle, and local politics in South Florida and the Caribbean for publications such as The Miami Herald and American Way Magazine. As a filmmaker, he wrote and produced the award-winning short film “Papa Machete,” which explores the esoteric martial art of Haitian machete fencing. The film world premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and had its U.S. premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. It has since screened at more than 30 film festivals around the world and has garnered coverage from NPR, Al Jazeera and the Associated Press. The film is currently featured on NationalGeographic.com and TheAtlantic.com and has been viewed more than one million times.

Maria Atanasov is the brand director for MSC Cruises. Significantly contributing to the journalism field, Atanasov was a contributing editor at BBC Capital, news editor for the Wall Street Journal and a reporter for Fortune Magazine.

Russell Zingale brings a wealth of experience to USIM as president of the eastern region. He has spent the majority of his career developing strategy and running media planning teams, including management positions at Western International Media/Initiative Media, planning positions at Backer, Spievogel Bates, and Wells, Rich and Greene and as director of business development for Carat USA. Throughout his 20-plus years in the media industry, Zingale has worked with clients ranging from Proctor & Gamble, Land O’Lakes and Applebee’s to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Marriott International, Aruba Tourism and Blooming Brands.

Eran Goren is responsible for leading USIM’s integrated strategies, innovation and digital operations as president of digital media/executive vice president of communications. He combines experience and leadership in marketing and analytics with a deep understanding of how technology is changing the way businesses acquire, retain and service customers. During the past 20 years, Goren has held several senior executive positions. Most recently, he founded and led the rapid growth of enCircle Media, launched and managed media agency sourceOut and directed the sales and marketing team at iVenturi, a software company spun off from Dow Chemical and Andersen Consulting. He serves on the board of the YPO Orange County Chapter and multiple company boards.

About Caribbean Week New York:

Caribbean Week New York is the largest regional tourism activity in the New York area. Artistes, performers, celebrity chefs, the Diaspora, investors and other strategic partners join government officials and the media for a week of festivities designed to raise awareness of the Caribbean’s diverse tourism industry and provide opportunities for member destinations to promote their individual products and services, participate in meetings, seminars and other business development activities to further enhance the Caribbean brand, and provide updates and critical support to travel agents and the media who influence key travel demographics.

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Chief Assignment Editor

Chief Assignment editor is OlegSziakov