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(CMC) -The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) says empty hotel rooms are costing the Caribbean billions of dollars in economic opportunity each year.
CHTA Director General, Frank Comito, said with an estimated 84,000 hotel rooms vacant each night, filling just 10 per cent of them would inject nearly two billion US dollars into the region annually.
“We have the room capacity across most of our destinations to further increase the economic impact of tourism. Focused efforts by the public and private sectors to fill the large amount of unused room inventory will yield considerable results,” said Comito, who is also the CHTA chief executive officer.
The CHTA will host Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the Caribbean’s largest tourism marketing event, in Montego Bay, Jamaica from January 29-31 next year and Comito spoke of the importance of attending the event.
Comito said that research has shown that an additional 10 per cent in visitor expenditures would generate US$628 million more in room revenue each year, plus two-thirds of added spend per visitor on food and beverage, attractions, taxis and ground transportation, retail purchases and local services.
“Filling hotel rooms generates the highest spinoff impact on tax revenues, employment and economic activity compared with all other important categories of visitors, including cruise passengers, renters and yachters,” said Comito.
“If you’re looking for business opportunity to expand and grow in the region you should be attending Caribbean Travel Marketplace,” he said, adding that online registration for the CHTA’s annual signature event is already open and participants can take advantage of the special rates which are available until November 6 this year.
Comito said that CHTA and its regional partner, the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) recently launched “The Rhythm Never Stops”, a marketing campaign which illuminates the Caribbean’s diverse cultures, vibrancies, unmatched natural beauty, and countless attractions and activities all complemented by the incredible hospitality of its people.
““As more people discover all that the Caribbean offers, we’re confident that the region’s popularity will continue to grow.”
CHTA said that Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2019, which is being produced in collaboration with co-hosts Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, is expected to attract an estimated 1,000 delegates from 26 Caribbean countries, who will meet with buyers from over 20 markets.