The president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association says CHTA members are well aware that the looming rapprochement between the Cuban and American governments may hit some of them in the pocketbook, reports Press Today’s Ian Stalker, who’s just returned for the annual conference.
Emil Lee said during last week’s CHTA Marketplace show in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that some members of the CHTA – which only has a limited Cuban presence — are aware that if travel restrictions on Americans visiting Cuba are lifted their hotels and destinations may loose visitors to a destination that has been off-limits to most Americans and is believed to generate a lot of curiosity among many of them.
There are predictions that the number of Americans visiting Cuba could top 2 million within a year if the US government embargo is lifted, something that would certainly cut into the tourist trades of some other Caribbean destinations.
“Sure, there is a concern [among CHTA member hoteliers],” Lee told travelpress.com. “From my opinion, that’s a wake-up call [for other members] not to be complacent.”
Lee said his members enjoyed a good year in 2014 and he has “the impression that everyone is very positive for 2015.”
Low oil prices are among welcome developments for CHTA members.
Lee, who during Marketplace’s opening ceremonies labelled the Caribbean “the most beautiful region in the world,” told travelpress.com that the Caribbean is also a practical region for North American vacationers.
“We’re still North America’s backyard.”
Photo Caption: The Bahamas Tourist Office had a visible presence at Marketplace, with its delegation familiar to those in this country’s tourist trade. Seen here (l-r) are Anthony Stuart, Bahamas Tourist Office; Hadley Forbes of H. Forbes Charter Services Limited; and Paul Strachan and Steve Johnson of the tourist office.