Tourism to the Caribbean remained flat over
the last two years, growing by 1% in 2006 and by less than 1%
(.08%) in 2007, according to Alec Sanguinetti, chairman and CEO of
the Caribbean Hotel Association.
In a post-conference
wrap-up report at CHA's annual Caribbean Marketplace, held Jan. 13
to 15 at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Sanguinetti
reported that "in two years [2006 and 2007], Caribbean growth was
only 1% while world tourism grew 7%, signaling that something is
wrong with tourism in the Caribbean."
Although the CHA
"cannot impact on the price of oil, the housing situation in the
U.S. and currency rates, we can impact on the state of aviation
within the Caribbean and the standard of service," Sanguinetti
He recommended that
the Caribbean region put its house in order to be able to complete
globally. "The future looks bright for us and it has great
potential," Sanguinetti said, citing as an example Ritz-Carlton's
investment of "billions, not millions, in the region. We must
ensure that the Caribbean is as competitive as
Aviation within the
Caribbean remains a "serious challenge," the CHA head said. "Fares
coming to the Caribbean are among the highest in the world, and
intra-Caribbean travel is way down. This issue must be addressed
before we see another summer season like had in 2007."
CHA's new advocacy
program will release its first report in February on the topic of
aviation. CHA officials hope that the report, and subsequent
reports issued by the Advocacy Committee, will influence government
leaders to address issues critical to the region.
contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].