Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank Comito, put investor’s minds at ease as he suggests that the tourism industry is holding strong, and is still a great economic force for the Caribbean as well as the world. A week ago at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Comito spoke to the Caribbean Hotel and Resort Investment Summit, saying that tourism is in an unmatched expansion period with new hotels and hotel advancements receiving investment that is adding to over 20 percent of new job creation worldwide. Going according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Comito predicts that by 2028, tourism will have contributed to more than half a million new jobs being created just in the Caribbean.
Several Caribbean destinations suffered a fair amount of damage due to the twin hurricanes in 2017. Although a rapid recovery was made, the area has almost 100,000 empty hotel rooms each night. Comito said, “Even after a destination returns to its pre-crisis level, ‘losses’ can continue to mount as it lags behind its previous growth trendline”.
Road to recovery
To increase recovery time and fortify resiliency, Comito says that public and private stakeholders must join together to “protect and enhance investments through collaboration on public relations and marketing around the Caribbean brand.” He further stated, “We’ve seen the results of collaboration, most recently last fall with the success of the ‘Rhythm Never Stops’ public relations, social and digital promotional campaign led by CHTA and the public sector-led Caribbean Tourism Organization. A handful of major companies and Caribbean destinations invested in promoting the region out of a down period. The entire region benefited. We really need to get to the point where all beneficiaries are helping to promote the region all the time. It makes us all stronger and quite frankly it’s unfair for a few to shoulder the burden when all benefit. We can do better. We shouldn’t wait for a crisis for people to come to the table”.