CHTA set sights on boosting intra-Caribbean travel

Caribbean leaders are aiming to boost intra-regional travel, a topic set to be tackled in an upcoming virtual discussion series presented by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

“Rebuilding Intra-Caribbean Travel” will be held in two parts, with the first taking place on Wednesday, April 6 at 10 a.m. ET, featuring distinguished public and private sector leaders and industry experts.

Session One will present a profile of the intra-Caribbean traveler and look at the obstacles and opportunities for stimulating the recovery of intra-regional travel.

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. will headline this session, which will also feature Neil Waters, acting CEO and Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization; CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig; and Jorge Hernandez, CEO of Aerostar Airport Holdings, which operates and manages the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico on behalf of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority.
Session Two, to be held on Thursday, April 7 at 10 a.m. ET, will provide hotels and tourism-related businesses as well as destinations with insights and success stories on restoring and attracting the high potential intra-Caribbean travel market.

To be moderated by Vanessa Ledesma, CHTA’s acting CEO and Director General, this session has attracted Alicia Cabrera, Executive Manager, Marketing & Loyalty Programs at Caribbean Airlines; Sanovnik Destang, Executive Director, Bay Gardens Resorts; Corey Garrett, Director – Caribbean & Latin America at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.; Christopher Gustave, Marketing Manager Caribbean, Sports & Events with the St. Lucia Tourism Authority; and Jesse Lee Lum, Regional Manager at SunTours Caribbean.

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“Intra-regional travel has taken a massive hit during the pandemic, and it’s been slower to rebound than international travel,“ said Madden-Greig, who will moderate the first session on Wednesday. “We want to examine how the region can recoup over a billion US dollars of lost revenue in this area and recover better than ever.”

While international travel into the Caribbean begins to approach pre-pandemic levels, travel within the region has only recovered to an estimated 30 percent of 2019 arrivals. The ramifications of this drop in intra-regional travel are broad, affecting all destinations at all levels, as it impacts business, leisure and personal travel for sports, festivals, events, religious, family and other meetings and gatherings. “For some destinations, accommodation providers and other tourism businesses, intra-regional travel accounts for a significant portion of their revenue,” Madden-Greig commented.

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