Discover Puerto Rico joined industry leaders from the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Marriott International, Delta Air Lines and the Aruba Tourism Authority to discuss the impact on the tourism sector throughout the region and what travel will look in the Caribbean for the remainder of 2020 as the region emerges from COVID-19.
During a webinar titled “2020 Caribbean Travel Outlook,” the CHTA confirmed that the drop in the hotel occupancy rate has been seen all throughout the Caribbean moving to single digits with an 8.4% reported in the end of March 2020. The webinar was sponsored by Caribbean Journal.
Looking at the Caribbean as a whole, it is estimated that the loss in earnings from tourism between March and May was $6 billion, while the estimated temporary job losses related to tourism surpasses the one million mark.
The CHTA said they believe that intra-Caribbean business and leisure travel is expected to return first.
“All of the industry leaders that participated in this panel agree that the tourism sector is resilient and that it comes back after recessions, major hurricanes and other disasters. We all have to work together as an industry, to regain confidence from tourists through implementing new safety and cleaning guidelines so that our visitors feel safe when visiting our destination,” said Leah Chandler, CMO of Discover Puerto Rico.
Discover Puerto Rico presented its COVID-19 Action Plan and shared with the attendees their new “Time” campaign that was launched in phases, starting with “All in Good Time.”
The organization is waiting to enter into Phase 3 of the plan, once there is a decline in COVID-19 cases in Puerto Rico, travel restrictions on-island begin to loosen, and tourism related businesses are open, she said.
The organization also presented a “condensed and consumer friendly” visitor health and safety guidelines.
Meanwhile, Marriott International unveiled its recent roll-out of elevated cleanliness protocols and other measures it is taking “to ensure that guests feel confident when they stay at one of their 46 properties in the Caribbean.”
“We look forward to working with Discover Puerto Rico and other destination offices to bring tourism back to the Caribbean. In the meantime, our hotels that are open in Puerto Rico are working diligently to implement measures and cleaning protocols to ensure local guests feel confident to eat at our restaurants, enjoy our pools and get much needed rest and relaxation when staying with us,” said Diana Plazas, chief sales and marketing officer of Marriott International Caribbean and Latin America.
On the other hand, Delta Air Lines showed the steps it is taking to provide safer travel. The airline has put measures in place that are in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to help keep their customers safe and give them more peace of mind.
The Aruba Tourism Authority was also part of the webinar, sharing future plans to create demand to its destination post pandemic.