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Welcome To 2020

CHTA President Has A Message For The New Year

In a message to the travel industry, the president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Patricia Affonso-Dass writes:

“I especially love the turn of year as it provides a wonderful opportunity not just to look back and take stock of the year that has passed, but more importantly to look to the year that lies ahead. We have much to be proud of for the way in which our industry and our association has taken up the challenges of the past year and successfully folded them into an optimistic canvas for the New Year. I’m truly heartened by the incredible sense of giving by so many in our industry who over the past several years have contributed generously to help their colleagues and the people of the Caribbean rebound in a great time of need.”

Affonso-Dass continues: “I am especially proud of the resilience of our people and of our amazing industry to rise up from adversity, rebuild, rebound, move forward and continue to offer our warm Caribbean welcome to the world. The destinations hardest hit by the 2017 hurricanes have made impressive progress to pre-hurricane levels and are back on track with new and improved product. Their fortitude has encouraged many of our members who were spared the wrath of the storms to reassess their product, spurring many of them to greater heights.”

And she points out that: “The silver lining on the dark clouds of hurricane devastation was the fact we were not only able to rebuild but we also were able to bolster our structures to withstand the wrath of future storms. As we look ahead through the crystal ball to 2020, data received from CHTA members indicates we may have more to celebrate. While there are challenges and there is always the unknown, most indicators point to continued steady economic conditions in our key source markets and robust visitor expenditures.”

Turning to the numbers, Affonso-Dass writes: “Arrivals throughout the region, in fact, are very high and on pace for a record year in 2019. The vast majority of destinations recorded marked increases and the Caribbean is on pace to reach its highest annual RevPAR in history by year-end. While external factors like the global economy are key to our success, it would not be possible without the aggressive efforts by the region’s public and private sectors over the past decade to expand and modernize airports and attract significant hotel investments – both in new and refurbished properties. We continue to see arrivals growth fueled by accommodation disruptors in the form of vacation home rentals; this will continue to be an important part of the accommodations sector – it is ever more important therefore to ensure that it is better regulated, taxed and integrated into the collaborative efforts of all tourism industry stakeholders.”

And she notes that: “Our thoughts and best wishes for a rapid recovery go out to the people of the northern Bahamas whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Dorian in September this year. Our sincere thanks also goes out to all those who supported our efforts to ease the suffering of the islanders by giving generously to our recovery fundraising initiatives. Through one of our support initiatives, the Caribbean Tourism Job Bank, we were pleased to see the number of organizations from areas unaffected by the storm, offering jobs to some 2,500 Bahamian hotel workers who were displaced by Dorian. We are working collaboratively with our partners in The Bahamas to support their recovery with the funds which were raised.”

Before continuing: “I am also pleased to report that our CHTA Education Foundation has been organizing and offering scholarships and special assistance for the education and training of Caribbean tourism industry personnel and students pursuing tourism and hospitality careers. Over the past year the foundation and its partners have made special efforts for students from hurricane-afflicted islands as well as focused on the critically important issue of diversity to better equip our team members to warmly welcome, respect and embrace the world.”

And she adds: “We are committed to being leaders in this space and are happy that our efforts have begun to open doors for discussions on issues that urgently need to be addressed so that all  people living in and visiting our beautiful region – irrespective of gender, sexual or religious preference – feel safe, welcomed and truly part of our Caribbean community.”

For more, go to www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com .

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