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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, March 25, 2023
HomeBusinessSt. Croix businessCaribbean Hoteliers Invest in Downtime to Manage Crisis and Prepare for Future

Caribbean Hoteliers Invest in Downtime to Manage Crisis and Prepare for Future

The Caribbean tourism industry has a proven track record of bouncing back from crisis, often better and stronger, which is a  message that resonated throughout the first in a series of online training programs being conducted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) aimed at equipping the industry to cope with its immediate challenges while preparing for the eventual return of tourists to the world’s leading tropical playground.

The first phase of the program, dubbed “CHTA Live: The Resilience Series,” was held on Friday, April 3, provided historical facts and measured forecasts to assist tourism stakeholders as they develop endurance strategies in response to COVID-19.

Representatives from the World Travel and Tourism Council, STR, ADARA and Tourism Analytics shared data and experiences, all of which point to a slow but steady recovery and provide a glimpse into the future. The session attracted nearly 500 attendees and was later uploaded to CHTA’s COVID-19 Resource Center at www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/covid-19.

The first edition of “CHTA Live: The Resilience Series” featured a wealth of data to assist tourism stakeholders.

“History points to the incredible resiliency of the industry. We’ve seen this from SARS, tsunamis, hurricanes, zika and other short-lived major challenges. While the COVID-19 pandemic is on a scale never before experienced, we are confident that the appetite for travel will return and as consumer confidence builds, the Caribbean will be poised and ready to welcome visitors back,” said Frank Comito, CHTA’s CEO and director general, who moderated the first program.

The week of April 6-10, the series session focused on debt restructuring, a topic of great interest to hotels and tourism-related businesses. It is estimated that over 70 percent of Caribbean hotels are carrying some form of debt. Attendees were guided on how to effectively plan and manage the restructuring of debt to bridge both short- and long-term operational challenges.

This week’s topics for the Phase One month-long training series will cover a number of labor-related matters and is entitled “HR Strategies and Solutions to Support Business Continuity.” Later, the training focus will shift to “CHTA Live: A Taste of CHIEF,” a series of sessions that will highlight the virtual exchange of best practices, money-saving tools and resources, and Caribbean culinary excellence.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) will provide short-course professional development and skills training, allowing participants to sharpen their skills in the online environment.

The “CHTA Live” training sessions help to fill the void created by the postponement of the highly anticipated Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), which had originally been slated for June 26-28 in Miami.

Comito indicated that the triangular series helps to address immediate training needs of the region, while expanding the association’s digital presence. “These sessions offer indispensable toolkits for the Caribbean hospitality industry as we prepare for the post-pandemic recovery,” he said.

Patricia Affonso-Dass, CHTA president and Barbados hotelier, noted that the program is an extension of the monitoring, education and awareness initiatives the association has provided in the past, but it comes at a critical time. “As the region grapples with COVID-19 we need to ensure that we leverage opportunities to sharpen our skills, while we allow our public health experts to help us contain the spread of coronavirus and prepare the business community to restart the economic engine of the region,” she said.

The CHTA COVID-19 Tourism Resource Center provides a number of online resources to help the industry manage the COVID-19 crisis: www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/covid-19

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