Caribbean hoteliers predict 'exciting and fruitful' 2020

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The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Patricia Affonso-Dass is predicting that 2020 will be an exciting and fruitful year for the sector.

“As we look ahead through the crystal ball to 2020, data received from CHTA members indicate 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,” she said in an end of year message.


Affonso-Dass said that Caribbean hoteliers have much to be proud of in 2019 after taking up the challenges of the past 12 months “and successfully folded them into an optimistic canvas for the New Year”.

She said that 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. 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.”

The CHTA official said that 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,” she said, noting that “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 fuelled 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.”

In her message, Affonso-Dass singled out the Bahamas, still recovering from the passage of Hurricane Dorian on September 1 that killed nearly 70 people and left damage estimated at US$3.4 billion.

“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 organisations 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.”

She said she was also pleased that the CHTA Education Foundation has been organising 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.

“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.”

She urged participation at the January 21-23 Caribbean Travel Marketplace to be held in the Bahamas as well as the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) and Taste of the Caribbean to be held in Miami in June.

Jamaica Observer
Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Caption: Patricia Affonso-Dass (Photo: CMC)