The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has launched a booking initiative that allows hotels across the region to help those who have been adversely impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria while also highlighting that more than 70 percent of Caribbean destinations have not been affected and are ready to welcome visitors as usual.
CHTA’s “One Caribbean Family” movement has been developed to help the vital tourism industry get back on its feet and will serve as a hub for hotels, travel advisors and tour operators who would like to make a contribution through guest bookings. Donations made through the initiative are sent to the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund managed by Tourism Cares, a non-profit organization which has partnered with CHTA to anchor the tourism industry’s hurricane recovery efforts in the Caribbean.
“We want to show our solidarity with the Caribbean countries affected by these storms, not just in words but with actions that can bring relief to those in need,” said Karolin Troubetzkoy, President of CHTA and executive director of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts in St. Lucia. While encouraged by the initial pledges of support for the One Caribbean Family initiative by some of the region’s hotels and international tour operators and travel advisors, she would like to see more Caribbean hotels and trade partners come on board.
“How can any hotel or hotel chain in the region and our trade partners feel good about securing incremental business as a result of hotel closures due to hurricanes?” asked Troubetzkoy. “While this may sound idealistic, the need to come together and act as one Caribbean tourism family has never been greater,” she asserted.
The CHTA President applauded tourism industry partners who have launched fundraising initiatives of their own, but hopes these will not deter them from also participating in the One Caribbean Family initiative. “To bring aid to the countries and the people who were affected will be an enormous task, and the One Caribbean Family initiative is a unique way to spread the good word that most of the Caribbean is open for business while helping those destinations most in need,” she opined.
Troubetzkoy is leading by example, with her company pledging to donate up to $50 for each booking for travel between October 1, 2017 and December 19, 2018. “We started this pledge for direct reservations and bookings through our travel advisors,” Troubetzkoy said, “but now we are also including some wholesalers who will match our donation.” Guests wishing to make additional contributions to the Fund will receive resort credits up to $250, depending on their contribution.
“When any part of the region is affected, it hits us so close to home, because the entire Caribbean is our home,” she added, declaring, “this is one tangible way our tourism community can stand in solidarity with our neighbors.”
The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund allows tourism industry stakeholders and friends of the region throughout the world to pool their resources in support of vulnerable, devastated parts of the Caribbean that welcome millions of visitors in a region that supports 2.4 million tourism-related jobs.
The Fund’s focus on the recovery of islands directly affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria complements existing relief efforts and gives the tourism industry a way to leverage its resources to help the region bounce back, ideally better than before.