US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

ZIKA Cases in Region Significantly Decline; Hotels Urged Continued Vigilance with Vector Controls

In observation of Caribbean Public Health Day 2017, the Caribbean Public Health Agency distributed an updated information package that addresses the outbreak and its impact on health, the economy and the tourism sector. It also highlights actions of member states and partners, new technologies and approaches, and what CARPHA is doing to help its member states.

“Even though the number of cases of Zika have significantly declined from the outbreak of 2016, there is still need for continued vigilance and action on mosquito borne diseases, which pose a health security threat, a tourism threat and an economic threat,” stated Dr. C. James Hospedales, CARPHA Executive Director.

Click here to view updated Zika information.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2018 Registration Opens in August

Registration for Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the Caribbean’s largest marketing event, is opening Aug. 10. This year’s event will ring in 2018 with a new and a vibrant lineup of activities. Marketplace is coming back to the Puerto Rico Convention Center from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2018.

Marketplace is the only event in the region that gathers the Caribbean tourism industry under one roof for two days of business meetings that match hotels and destinations with online travel agents, tour operators and Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) planners through a busy program of thousands of pre-scheduled appointments.

“Caribbean Travel Marketplace is a marquee event that provides an excellent opportunity for stakeholders here to network with some of the world’s leading travel professionals, and, more importantly, share what we offer on our islands to the world,” said Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association Chairman of the Board of Directors Miguel Vega.

In 2017, Caribbean Travel Marketplace, hosted by The Bahamas, attracted 114 buyer companies from 20 countries. More than 1,100 delegates from 31 countries participated in more than 10,000 pre-scheduled appointments.

Getting Ready for Marketplace:

  • Update Your Contact Information: Make sure your contact information is updated with CHTA. Send an email to with your company’s name, primary contact name, email and title.
  • Tell Your Team: Remind all of your team members that plan to attend to save the date.
  • Book Your Airfare: Save and book early. Special offers for hotel accommodations will be launched along with registration.

Click here to learn more.

Heinz Simonitsch First Recipient of Prestigious ‘Icon of Hospitality’ Award

Legendary Caribbean hotelier Heinz Simonitsch, who defined luxury hospitality and environmental sustainability, will receive the first Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Icon of Hospitality Award.

Simonitsch of Jamaica’s famed Half Moon resort in Montego Bay was conferred the high honor on July 13, his ninetieth birthday, for his tireless and innovative contributions to the region’s hospitality industry. Simonitsch is credited with pioneering the pairing of luxury resorts with ecological sustainability and community benefit approaches.

“Your countless contributions and achievements of your outstanding career have inspired CHTA’s leadership to create the CHTA Icon of Hospitality Award. We believe it entirely appropriate to bestow the inaugural award upon you,” CHTA’s Director General Frank Comito stated in a communique to Simonitsch.

“The depth and expanse of your work has forever shaped Caribbean hospitality. As a pioneer in luxury tourism, you set a new standard for others to emulate. Your commitment to the professional development of your employees and the health and welfare of your surrounding community has elevated local lives and the position of tourism in the region. CHTA and the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association are forever indebted to you for selflessly giving your time, talent and treasure to the greater good,” he continued.

Karolin Troubetzkoy, CHTA’s president, explained that the “Icon of Hospitality” title celebrates the careers and lives of extraordinary leaders whose work in Caribbean hospitality has stood the test of time and left its mark on CHTA and the region.

“The association’s new ultimate recognition honors legendary professionals who have not only achieved phenomenal business success, but have also mentored and molded those aiming for excellence in this industry,” she explained.

Simonitsch moved to Jamaica in 1963 where he leapt to prominence when he expanded The Half Moon Club into a 400-acre resort where luxury became synonymous with environmental sustainability and community benefit innovations, which included local access to the resort’s medical facilities.

Prior to his iconic innovations in the region, Simonitsch enjoyed a distinguished career in the Caribbean tourism industry, earning many distinctions since he began in 1953 as dining room captain at the Elbow Beach Surf Club in Bermuda before he became the managing director of Half Moon Golf, Tennis and Beach Club in 1965 until his retirement in 2002. Today, he splits his time between Jamaica and his home country of Austria, where he owns the Grandhotel Lienz, which opened in April 2009.

The former CHTA Caribbean hotelier of the year received many accolades, including the Honorary Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD) conferred by the Governor General of Jamaica for outstanding contribution to tourism in Jamaica and the Caribbean; the Golden Cross from the Austrian Government for his long service as Honorary Consul General in Jamaica; the International Humanitarian Award from the American Friends of Jamaica for his commitment to helping the Jamaican population; the title of Professor awarded by the Austrian President for services and outstanding contribution to Austria; and the Blue Mountain award conferred for exceptional contributions to the continued growth and development of Jamaica’s tourist industry.

His communication acumen and commitment to transparency was recognized by the Caribbean Media Exchange for Sustainable Tourism, which gave him its top award.

In addition to his work in tourism, Simonitsch has played an active role in developing programs to assist the people of Jamaica. He is the founder of SOS Children’s Village in Montego Bay and Kingston and the founder of the Heinz Simonitsch School in Montego Bay.

Managing the Unforeseen

All crisis situations, from a hurricane to an accident, present significant hurdles for a hotel to continue its day to day operations. The challenges take many forms and are often difficult to predict. Certain crises pose a physical threat to the property, while others threaten its public image, customer base and short as well as long-term financial stability.

Once a crisis hits, it is too late to plan. Therefore, hotels must have a well-developed crisis management plan which includes training, drills, testing procedures and putting in place additional external resources should the worst occur. This management plan must be regularly updated taking into account all emerging threats, as well as internal changing in staffing and operations. Click here to read the full article from CHTA.