FLORIDA, United States (CMC) — President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Nicola Madden-Greig is predicting a strong winter rebound for regional tourism, based on strong health protocols in place and the increase in air service to several destinations across the Caribbean.
“The worst of it has been contained,” said Madden-Greig, basing her optimism on the containing of the novel coronavirus pandemic as a result of sound health safety protocols under the guidance of local ministries and departments of health, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and other regional and international organisations.
Her optimism is backed by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which recently reported that the Caribbean is recovering faster than any other region in the world with tourism’s contribution to GDP expected to rise more than 47 per cent this year.
In contrast, the global economy is set to receive a 30.7 per cent year-on-year increase from travel & tourism in 2021, representing US$1.4 trillion and mainly driven by domestic spending. The Caribbean region’s forecast increase represents an increase of nearly US$12 billion, driven by both international and domestic travel spend.
Among the region’s protocols have been requirements for visitors to pre-screen and produce a negative test before boarding Caribbean flights, as well as the increased vaccination rates for tourism professionals.
“We have been extremely successful in implementing such protocols as shown by the low positivity rate of returning travellers, and there has been little evidence of visitors needing care in local hospitals,” said Madden-Greig.
“This means that we have successfully leveraged our protocols to protect team members, visitors and the wider community.”
Madden-Greig, who is group director of marketing & sales of The Courtleigh Hospitality Group in Jamaica, also applauded Caribbean tourism stakeholders for speedily setting up health safety training programmes for staff, which resulted in a well-trained tourism sector workforce alert to the dangers and knowing how to avert them.
Nearly 10,000 supervisors, managers and owners of tourism-related businesses throughout the Caribbean have participated in health safety training designed specifically for the tourism industry by CARPHA, in collaboration with CHTA.
They have in turn trained thousands more employees in their operations. This has complemented and underpinned an aggressive training regime also put in place by local companies, countries and territories.
“We’re ready and able to receive visitors safely,” Madden-Greig said, adding that plans continue to train tourism industry staff in these protective measures while continuing to deliver an excellent customer service experience.
“Our success is also dependent on the ability of our source markets to continue controlling this pandemic as the world collectively seeks to recover and move back to normality,” she said.
WTTC research suggests that at the current rate of recovery, travel & tourism’s contribution to the Caribbean economy could see a further year-on-year rise of 28.7 per cent in 2022, representing a boost of US$10 billion.