Frank Comito has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) after guiding the association through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,
several devastating hurricanes and numerous global challenges impacting the region’s tourism industry.
Comito’s transition comes at the conclusion of nearly 40 years of service to local and regional private sector organisations in the Caribbean.
In a message to members, Comito, who will serve as a part-time Special Advisor to the organization, said he
was proud of how quickly and effectively CHTA adapted over the past ten months, working in collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the many challenges critical to recovery efforts which, he assured, would hasten the Caribbean tourism sector’s recovery.
Looking to the future of Caribbean tourism and the CHTA, he voiced optimism that despite the headwinds facing the sector and the association, industry leadership working with local and regional tourism associations will address immediate needs, mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and help to steer a course to the future.
Comito was hired by the CHTA six years ago when he made a five-year commitment to help refocus the organisation and address several longstanding challenges it was facing.
Having successfully tackled most of the issues, as well as others which were not anticipated, he is moving on to pursue other personal and professional goals while also continuing to support CHTA.
During his term, Comito improved communication with members and raised CHTA’s and Caribbean tourism’s public profile by embracing consumer, trade and social media as well as digital communications platforms.
Travel trade veteran Vanessa Ledesma has taken over as Acting Chief Executive Officer and Director General, effective January 1, 2021. Ledesma formerly served as Chief Operations Officer.
Comito, an award-winning tourism executive, said while the challenges the pandemic presented would continue, he believed 2021 will be a turning point for the tourism industry.
He assured members the association was in good hands, “with a great volunteer leadership team, Acting CEO and Director General and small support staff supported by his part-time consultancy role, and the team at Marketplace Excellence (MPE), our communications consultants”. (PR)