US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association President Karolin Troubetzkoy’s CHTA 2017 New Year Resolutions message:
For many of us, 2016 will be a year to remember. During this time last year, we had high hopes that 2016 would continue a five-year regional tourism growth trend. Hotel occupancy rates and average daily rate (ADR) would continue to increase; stopover visitor arrivals would break a record 30 million barrier; and the wedding and honeymoon business would be rekindled in the ‘Year of Romance.’
With 2016 behind us, we can look back and see that, on average, both Caribbean occupancy rates and ADR failed to meet budget targets. A number of factors contributed to this, including the threat of Zika, a warm winter in our primary markets, the depreciation of the Canadian dollar and British pound, and political and economic uncertainty in many parts of the world.
Despite these challenges, the lure and popularity of the Caribbean continued to attract travelers and the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Secretary General High Riley announced that the region will most certainly have passed the 30 million stopover visitors milestone in 2016. Yet, the increased visitor arrivals were not evenly spread across the region and therefore not all Caribbean destinations could register arrival increases. An added concern for many hoteliers was (and continues to be) that a growing number of travelers opted to stay in alternative accommodations, like those offered by Airbnb and Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO).
Perhaps the most important question we must address is: What resolutions can we make to help shape our own destiny? How will we determine our own future to prevent external factors from shaping our fortunes…or misfortunes?
While the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and others worked aggressively to counter the impact of Zika and the sharing economy on hotel business, it has become abundantly clear that nothing short of a major shift in focus and commitment is necessary for Caribbean tourism to grow in 2017 and beyond. In 2016 we laid the foundation for this shift; now we must aggressively and collectively resolve to build on that foundation.