SAN JUAN — The president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has made a bold prediction: the Caribbean will see a return of tourism “faster than many parts of the world.”
Describing COVID-19 as an unprecedented challenge, Pablo Torres applauded the region’s rapid response to the pandemic as well as the various partnerships throughout the Caribbean to help minimize the impact of the virus. “Key partners in health” include the 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 (WTTC).
“Through collaboration and sharing insights and expertise we all help one another,” said Torres. “Tourism is our key to recovery, to restoring the livelihood of thousands of employees in our industry, to reopening our doors and welcoming our guests.”
Torres also commended healthcare professionals as well as front- and back-of-house workers across many industries, including tourism, immigration and ground transportation, for helping to contain the spread of the virus and setting the stage for the region’s economic recovery in the coming months.
“You have led by example, providing exemplary services while adhering to essential health safety protocols. We are all in debt to your service,” he added.
In addition to replenishing tax revenues to cash-strapped governments, Torres noted that 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 this pandemic.”
Since the start of the pandemic in March, the Caribbean has implemented several health and safety protocols to keep both visitors and residents safe, from territory- and country-specific COVID-19 testing requirements and stringent cleaning and sanitization protocols at accommodations, to social distancing, face mask policies and limited capacity at restaurants and gathering places. Torres said that the region’s hospitality sector has gone to “great lengths” to ensure health and safety, and also noted that the tourism sector has weathered many crises over the years and has always rebounded.