CHTA CEO Encouraged by Progress in Fight Against COVID-19

While Frank Comito, CEO and director general of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), lauded the coordination between many of the region's governments, the tourism industry and public health authorities to minimize the effects of COVID-19 (coronavirus), he said the fight isn’t over yet, noting there is no vaccine available.

"First, our economies depend on visitors, and second, COVID-19 is not going away soon, so we have to do everything possible to minimize risk to both our residents and visitors while slowly reopening tourism," he said in a statement.

Comito added that he was encouraged by the work being undertaken by many jurisdictions, pointing to destinations like the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, St. Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao and others that have been working with tourism and health officials, local hotel and tourism associations, individual hotels, resorts and the business community to create guidelines. In addition to the countries mentioned by Comito, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, and Turks and Caicos have also made strides towards reopening their borders to visitors. Comito noted the Caribbean tourism sector has a history of being able to rebound strongly from adversity such as hurricanes, 9/11, Zika, chikungunya, volcano eruptions and earthquakes. 

The CHTA CEO said traveler confidence in the region would be strengthened by building upon such experiences. "We are seeing an unprecedented level of collaboration and resolve to manage the risks from this new virus,” Comito said. “Health safety protocols and guidelines are being put in place, mirroring the international standards, which have been recommended, and adding more stringent measures. Training is underway and significant training and protocols will continue to come on stream. The process has not been easy as we are all treading uncharted waters, but we are all working from the common position of minimizing risks to our residents and travelers." 

CHTA is a member of the COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force, established early in March and comprising CHTA, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC). 

Related Stories

Stats: 65% of U.S. Travelers Looking Forward to Traveling Again

Couples Resorts to Reopen Resorts July 1

Travel Advisors Celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month

Radisson Blu Signs Dominican Republic Resort