Published on : Thursday, December 31, 2020
Pablo Torres, the President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), predicted the Caribbean will see a return of tourism to the region, faster than many parts of the world, due to the protocols and partnerships implemented throughout the region to help lessen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. He addressed 2021 as a year of recovery, and declared that tourism is the key to recovery and restoring the livelihood of thousands of employees in our industry, to reopening doors, and welcoming guests.
Torres noted that from territory- and country-specific COVID-19 testing requirements and stringent cleaning and sanitisation protocols in place at accommodations providers to social distancing and face mask policies and rules limiting capacity at restaurants and other gathering places, Caribbean hospitality sector has gone to great lengths to protect and ensure the health and safety of both residents and visitors. Recalling that the Caribbean and its tourism sector has weathered many crises over the years and has always rebounded, he described 2020 as a year when CHTA members were challenged to do more with less, including significant revenue shortfalls.
Torres lauded CHTA’s “key partners in health”, including National Hotel and Tourism Associations, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the UN World Tourism Organization, and the World Travel and Tourism Council: “Through collaboration and sharing insights and expertise we all help one another.” He mentioned that not only health care professionals but also front- and back-of- house workers across many industries, including tourism, airports and airline personnel, immigration and customs officers, and ground transportation workers have provided services while adhering to essential health safety protocols.
Describing COVID-19 as an unprecedented challenge, he also applauded the Caribbean’s rapid response to the pandemic, which helped to contain the spread of the virus more effectively than many other parts of the world. He saluted the “countless health heroes” whose dedication and sacrifices had averted a great deal of human suffering and have helped to set the stage for the economic recovery the region will be experiencing in the coming months. Torres also said noted that in addition to replenishing tax revenues to cash-strapped governments, a tourism revival would refresh and renew the minds, bodies and spirits of millions of travellers who will discover that the Caribbean is the best place on earth to recover from the ravage of the pandemic.