Caribbean Week 2012 New York showcase

New York’s Empire State Building on Wednesday began honoring the Caribbean by lighting its world-famous tower in blue, green and yellow in celebration of Caribbean Week 2012.

Organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the annual affair began June 4 and ends on June 9 has been attracting a variety of artists, performers, celebrity chefs, fashion designers, models, investors, government officials and other strategic partners, as well as would-be vacationers to the Caribbean and seasoned travelers who have been converging on New York for the week of acivities which began Sunday and invoved, music, fashion, food,

The CTO said the week of activities that showcase the “diversity and vibrancy” of the region also offered Caribbean vacations at special prices available only during Caribbean Week.

“We are honored that the famous New York City skyline once again will be shining in blue, green and yellow in celebration of Caribbean Week for all of the city’s residents and visitors to see,” said Fernando Abreu, deputy director of marketing for the CTO at the opening ceremony. We appreciate the Empire State Building’s ongoing support of this annual series of events by lighting the iconic building in the Caribbean’s traditional colors,” he added.

The week-long celebration also includes meetings and seminars for ministers of tourism, directors of tourism, national tourist office representatives and other key tourism and hospitality personalities from the around the Caribbean.

At a day-long event on Wednesday at New York’s celebrated Grand Central Terminal, Caribbean Week activities were geared also to promote unique vacation experiences to consumers, as well as staging the annual Media Marketplace which draws travel writers from across North America.

Caribbean Week in New York is the largest regional tourism activity in the New York area and typically attracts tens of thousands of participants to its largest event: the Caribbean Travel and Cultural Fair and Vacation Mart, where consumers can purchase trips at special Caribbean Week rates. Destinations and hotels from across the Caribbean were on display at New York’s Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday.

“The color, spirit and vitality of the Caribbean Cultural Fair and Vacation Mart were designed to make participants feel like they are basking in the region’s heritage when it officially opens,” the CTO said in its pre-event promotiomal material. Guests were surrounded by indigenous items including trinkets, clothing and instruments lining the walls of Vanderbilt Hall to highlight the diversity and creativity of the Caribbean.

Guests also experienced Caribbean culture at its finest, with performances by dancers, stilt walkers, singers and other entertainers representing traditional Caribbean Carnival celebrations. The Vacation Mart and Cultural Fair commenced with pulsating music by The Andre Philips Band, Steel Pan artist Ricardo Jerome, Braata Folk Singers, Danza Fiesta Group and Know Your Culture.

Winners of the annual Caribbean Wedding Contest, bride Tricialouise Gurley and groom John Gordon Andre’ Millard, also had their own Caribbean-themed dream wedding, wedding dress, tuxedo, wedding cake, all fully paid for and conveniently located right in Grand Central Terminal. and the Caribbean Tourism Organization also provided a free honeymoon vacation for the couple to the romantic St. Kitts Marriott and the couple also received additional wedding gifts from an array of Caribbean countries.

Meantime, Caribbean nationals in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut experienced the sensational creations of Trinidadian fashion designer and Project Runway Season 9 winner, Anya Ayoung Chee on Wednesday.

Ayoung Chee took center stage as she delivered a sneak preview of her highly anticipated Summer 2012 collection, inspired by her passion for the colorful, diverse cultural history of the twin-island republic.

“Fashion is an integral component of our heritage, and to be able to promote the creativity of our islands to the world continues to be a mission I am extremely grateful to champion,” said Ayoung Chee, who was appointed an official tourism ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago this year.