Eighty-four thousand empty hotel rooms nightly hurting tourism sector – CHTA Director General

The Courtyard Marriott, Barbados

If the Caribbean is truly keen on significantly increasing its earnings from the region’s tourism sector one way of doing so is through the launch of an aggressive marketing initiative that targets the filling of its thousands of hotel rooms that remain vacant every night, Chief Executive Officer and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) Frank Comito says.

An estimated 84,000 hotel rooms remain vacant each night in the region and Comito says that filling just ten per cent of these rooms could result in the region’s tourism sector taking in up to US$2 billion  each year. “We have the room capacity across most of our destinations to further increase the economic impact of tourism. Focused efforts by the public and private sectors to fill the large amount of unused room inventory will yield considerable results,” the CHTA Chief Executive says in an article published in the Travel Daily News in Jamaica early in November.

The disclosure comes ahead of the staging of the region’s largest tourism marketing event, Caribbean Travel Marketplace in January.

Comito, who has reportedly launched an aggressive region-wide initiative to seek maximum participation in the January event says that the event offers a critical hotel and destination opportunity since it will attract high-level executives, key decision makers, wholesalers, tour operators and travel agents. Next January’s thirty-seventh staging of the Caribbean Travel Marketplace will also feature high value lobbying events including conventions and exhibitions for regional travel officials.

For all the varied opportunities which the Marketplace event affords, Comito is reportedly focused on ensuring keeping in sight the importance of upping room revenue by a minimum of 10 per cent, an accomplishment that will reportedly bring the region around US$620 million annually. An increase in room occupancy will have a further knock on effect on revenue through spending on food and beverages, attractions, taxis and other local services, Comito says, adding that further spinoffs will include  tax revenues, employment and economic activity.

Comito added that CHTA and its regional partner the Caribbean Tourism Organization recently launched “The Rhythm Never Stops”, a marketing campaign which illuminates the Caribbean’s diverse cultures, vibrancies, unmatched natural beauty, and countless attractions and activities all complemented by the incredible hospitality of its people: “As more people discover all that the Caribbean offers, we’re confident that the region’s popularity will continue to grow.”

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