Region’s tourism renaissance well underway, says CHTA


Hoteliers throughout the region have an optimistic outlook for what the future holds with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) noting that the region’s tourism renaissance is well underway, with some destinations approaching or exceeding record visitor arrival numbers.

Tourism officials cite pent-up traveller demand, the elimination or significant reduction in travel restrictions, the return of airlifts, attractive deals and packages being offered by hotels, and a range of destination and hotel choices and upgrades that are now in place as key factors for the rebound.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig applauded the region’s tourism, health and government leaders for their work over the past two years to position the region’s largest industry, tourism, to recover from the pandemic.

She pointed to the announcement last month by the World Travel and Tourism Council at its global summit in Manila, recognizing the Caribbean and Latin America as leading the global tourism recovery.

“Today’s traveller has many choices when planning a Caribbean getaway, thanks to the efforts of so many. Over the past decade, we’ve seen an explosion of new and upgraded hotels and infrastructure improvements.

“During the pandemic, many hotels and attractions used the time to improve on their product and service offerings, also recognizing the changing needs of the discerning traveller. We continue to offer accommodation experiences which appeal to the full range of traveller interests.

“Beyond our world-famous beaches and waters, travellers can experience our diverse cultural, culinary and historic treasures. And we’ve worked diligently to put in place health safety protocols which are effective and as non-intrusive as possible,” she added.

Madden-Greig noted that, on average, hotels and resorts in the Caribbean will approach close to 80 per cent of their record pre-pandemic performance this year, with some destinations setting all-time records.

Cruise ships are returning, which is especially important to attractions, transportation providers such as independent taxis, and small- and medium-sized vendors. In addition, investment in new and upgraded hotels and resorts has not slowed.

“These are all great indicators which point to traveller confidence and demand for the Caribbean. We are seeing the fruits of years of hard work by the industry and governments throughout the region to invest in our tourism product and our people, and to broaden our appeal as we find new ways to provide a diverse and exciting experience for our visitors,” said Madden-Greig.

“Travellers to the Caribbean can discover our diverse offerings by land or sea, by a cruise vacation, or a coveted, longer in-destination stay for a more immersive experience. It has never been easier to do the Caribbean ‘your way’ and there are options for every interest and every budget. From high-end luxury accommodations on land or on the sea to cozy cottages and apartments,” she added.

CHTA’s Director-General, Vanessa Ledesma, echoed these thoughts recently at the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) and using data from ForwardKeys, Ledesma highlighted the strong interest in the region for summer and fall travel.

“This is reflective of the travellers’ mindset with the accessibility of the region, brand identity and management of the pandemic being key elements that are driving demand,” she said.

ForwardKeys, CHTA’s data partner, recently reported that the Caribbean and Latin America are leading the summer outlook in terms of the return of leisure travel, noting that five destinations – Aruba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and The Bahamas – are among the “most resilient” based on confirmed arrivals for the summer.

Developer confidence is also evident in STR’s most current pipeline report, with close to 30,000 rooms in development or under construction over the next five years.

But Madden-Greig pointed to new challenges facing the industry, as inflation is resulting in higher operating and travel costs and the uncertainty in Eastern Europe impacts travel.

“While the cost of travel increases worldwide due to these and other factors, we will continue to focus on providing value and exceptional traveller experiences.

“This is particularly important in our highly competitive global marketplace. Despite these challenges, we anticipate over the coming weeks and months to see a proliferation of deals and special offers by the industry to continue to appeal to travellers’ desire to come to the Caribbean,” she added.


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