Written by 4:18 pm Travel

CHTA boss says tourism industry rebounding faster than anticipated

The Caribbean tourism industry is recovering much faster than expected.

So says President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Nicola Madden-Greig who insisted there remains to be loads of pent-up demand for travel to the region.

Speaking during Thursday morning’s Caribbean Tourism Fireworks press conference, Madden-Greig said despite the fact that visitor numbers haven’t yet returned to pre-COVID levels, the Caribbean continued to be probably the most sought-after destinations for travelers.

“We’re really very excited to see that Caribbean tourism is recovering much faster than had been anticipated originally and we’re seeing that we’re the second-fastest recovering globally. We’re still behind our 2019 peak yr by some 36.1 per cent, but by way of our contribution to GDP for 2021 we’re up 36.6 per cent over 2020,” she noted.

“We’ve managed to get well over 311, 000 jobs in that period and that is de facto a testament to how briskly Caribbean tourism has been in a position to come back into play. After all, we now have to proceed to have a look at the worldwide outlook by way of our growth over the subsequent 10 years, and the WTCC [World Travel and Tourism Council] is forecasting a two-times growth over what we had seen in 2019, in order that is exceptionally excellent news.”

Madden-Greig explained that while arrivals for January and February weren’t strong due to the Omicron variant, March into June had seen “really strong demand” for Caribbean travel.

Moreover, she said data collected pointed to a powerful summer performance.

“Summer is definitely going to be nice and sunny. We’re seeing robust demand for the Caribbean and we’re seeing that we are literally from the June to August period ahead within the Caribbean of our 2019 airline arrivals, by way of what’s forecasted and on the books, by upwards of two per cent.

“This is critical news for us within the Caribbean and we now have the airlift. Our airline partners have been returning to most destinations, some not as much as others, but we predict with the news that we’re seeing and as travel restrictions proceed to be lifted, that’s going to make travel for summer much more attractive, particularly for the family market which is one among our major markets for summer,” Madden-Greig said.

“So, we’re very excited to report that summer goes to be robust. We’re seeing it once we speak to our hotel associations and we speak to our members; they’re seeing the demand they usually are responding as well.”

The CHTA president said additional data had shown that summer into fall would see a six per cent increase in comparison to pre-pandemic levels, while an 18 per cent increase was expected for fall.

She said with that traction, it was expected that winter 2022 to 2023 would even be strong.

Despite the progress made, the CHTA president admitted that there have been some challenges that needed to be addressed.

“We’ve our challenges by way of air connectivity, we now have issues by way of digitisation and thru that, we’d like to proceed to have a look at our infrastructure and human capital development.

“We’ve to proceed to listen to crises, not only this pandemic, but we now have to be able to have the ability to cope with any future shocks, not only by way of responding to them but anticipating them and with the ability to put in place all the mitigation measures from early on,” Madden-Greig said. [email protected]

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