A total of 296 attendees, including bankers, investors, developers, hoteliers and tourism officials, expressed optimism last week as they gathered in Bermuda for the annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC). The conference is a cooperative event organized by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
“The mood was surprisingly optimistic despite the dire economic situation that many destinations, hotels and other companies find themselves in at this time,” said Enrique De Marchena Kaluche, president of CHTA in a written statement. “Many of the speakers and general delegates expressed their overall support for the Caribbean as a region that continues to have potential for growth and expansion.”
CTO Chairman John Maginley, also Minister of Tourism for Antigua and Barbuda, challenged governments and hoteliers to work together to both maintain the quality of the tourism product as well as find creative marketing solutions to drive visitors to the Caribbean.
In looking at the impact of the global economic slide on tourism, Duane T. Vinson, vice president of Smith Travel Research, said that “the decline in demand has not been that significant, but the room rates and revenue decline has been great and that is the real concern. The Caribbean, in comparison to other warm weather destinations around the world, is down in demand by 6.5 percent compared to double digit declines in other destinations.”