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CHTA President calls for support to Rural Areas on World Tourism Day

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#MIAMI, Florida (September 25, 2020) – The president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) welcomed the focus of World Tourism Day this year on the important, but often overlooked, linkages between tourism and rural development. Applauding the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) celebration of tourism’s essential role in providing opportunities beyond major urban centers, Patricia Affonso-Dass noted that many of the Caribbean’s rural areas have benefited from tourism’s development and are now challenged with working together to revitalize tourism, as their communities have been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

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“The Caribbean is replete with examples of how tourism has been key to the development of rural communities. Many of our hotels in rural areas are major generators for other economic activity in their communities beyond the creation of jobs at the resorts,” said Affonso-Dass.

“These hotels have spawned a range of businesses and jobs which otherwise would not exist without tourism, including new attractions, ground transportation services, restaurants, musicians and entertainment providers, fishermen, farmers, and other support services for hotels.  

“As tourism-generated dollars circulate from visitor spending and employee earnings, they in turn support the grocery stores, petrol stations, banks, insurance companies, and public services that help to build and maintain roads, utilities, sanitation facilities, health clinics, police and fire securities, and other infrastructure which is so essential to rural development,” she added.  

The tourism leader optimistically reflected that the slowdown of visitor arrivals to the Caribbean due to the pandemic was a golden opportunity for the region to invest in showcasing the beauty, diversity and productivity of rural areas through the development of more agricultural tourism offerings, which help to preserve and promote history and culture. 

“The beauty of our coasts, beaches, reefs, and seas is well known but we should support and highlight the potential of our inland farming communities to feed and sustain not only our residents, but also the formal tourism sector, and encourage visitors to experience the simple joys of Caribbean country life through agritourism,” Affonso-Dass urged. 

The CHTA leader believes the economic benefit to territories and countries is another strong argument for supporting the rural environs: “While we have made real headway in recent years integrating local produce into hotel and restaurant menus, we need to continue and streamline this effort by working with farmers to strengthen critical supply chain challenges and implementing virtual clearing houses that would allow farmers to know what products are needed in what quantities, at what standard and in what timeframes so that they can maximize the value from their production. This way we all benefit and our visitors can enjoy a real taste of our distinctive regional flavors while giving our farmers, large and small, more sustainable livelihoods.” 

UNWTO has reported that young people have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with youth in rural communities three times more likely to be unemployed than older adults, making rural tourism an important social adhesive.

Plaiting of the May pole, South Caicos Turks and Caicos Islands. Photo by Magnetic Media

“Supporting tourism recovery and strengthening its linkages to the rural areas would allow our young people to remain and earn a sustainable living in their beloved lands rather than migrating within their home countries or abroad,” observed Affonso-Dass.

Indeed, she pointed to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ statement that for rural communities, indigenous peoples and many other historically marginalized populations, tourism has been a vehicle for integration, empowerment and income generation.

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The CHTA president emphasized that rural communities were typically much less prepared to deal with the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. “This is due to several factors, such as aging populations, the difficulty in sustaining durable livelihoods and the difficulty and cost of developing and maintaining efficient and reliable communication so they can quickly identify the food needs of consumers. And, we totally agree with the UNWTO that tourism offers a solution to all of these challenges,” she said. World Tourism Day 2020 will be celebrated by UNWTO’s member states on September 27, 2020, as well as by cities and other destinations and private sector organizations and individual travelers. 

It comes as the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

CHTA Praises Grenada’s Hospitality Industry for Record Growth and Sector-Wide Collaboration

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GEORGE’S, Grenada (April 9, 2024) – The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) praised tourism stakeholders in Grenada for their dedication to fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, a partnership that has resulted in sustainable growth within the destination’s tourism industry.

During her inaugural visit to The Spice Island last month, Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO of CHTA, spoke at a Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) Members Meeting. The event was attended by government officials and members of the business community, highlighting the strong collaborative efforts that have been instrumental in driving the sector’s progress.

“Grenada is an outstanding Caribbean tourism destination, and I am inspired by the passion and dedication of its hospitality industry stakeholders. Through collaboration and a strong public-private partnership, I am confident that the GHTA and its members will continue to thrive,” said Ledesma. 

Sharing insights from CHTA’s data partner ForwardKeys, Ledesma provided valuable information on Grenada’s tourism outlook. She highlighted first-quarter arrivals that are on track to surpass 2023’s figures, positioning Grenada as a leader in regional tourism growth. 

In 2023, Grenada achieved a milestone by welcoming 178,020 stayover visitors, marking a 33.7% increase from 2022. This impressive growth placed Grenada among a select group of regional destinations that surpassed their 2019 arrival figures, delivering an increase of close to 10 percent.

Data from STR and CoStar highlighted a positive trend in the hospitality sector, with hotel occupancy climbing from 61% to 65.6% year-over-year. Additionally, there was an increase in both Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR).

Ledesma also pointed to the Caribbean’s strong performance in the global travel recovery of 2023, noting a three percent increase in international arrivals compared to 2019. This contrasted with a 25% decline in total international inbound travel elsewhere in the world. “The Caribbean has truly set a benchmark in the global tourism landscape, underscoring its significant outperformance in attracting visitors last year,” Ledesma remarked, emphasizing the region’s successful rebound and resilience in the face of global challenges.

The association executive highlighted the comprehensive benefits of CHTA membership, including the critical advocacy work on travel and tourism issues to ensure that members’ voices are heard in policy-making circles. She also underscored the importance of marketing opportunities provided through access to Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the premier annual buyer-supplier event in the region, to be held in Jamaica in May.

Ledesma spoke about the value of market intelligence through access to regional performance data and resources in the CHTA Data Center, educational webinars and masterclasses; opportunities for leadership and engagement in CHTA councils and committees; sharing of best practices in various aspects of business beyond the borders of individual destinations; and the availability of timely, curated news and information.

As part of her visit, Ledesma engaged in site visits to member hotels, learning about the hospitality sector’s needs and offering practical solutions to address them. She also explored Grenada’s scenic beauty and charm to deepen her understanding of the destination.

Warm Grenadian hospitality was extended to Ledesma through a reception held in her honor at Calabash Grenada, providing an intimate setting for networking and dialogue among guests, including Senator Adrian Thomas, Minister of Tourism; Senator Salim Rahaman; Nikoyan Roberts, Head of Sales and Marketing at the Grenada Tourism Authority; and other government officials and tourism leaders.

“Vanessa’s visit symbolizes a significant step forward in strengthening the relationship and fostering growth of the Grenadian hospitality sector. The GHTA looks forward to leveraging her expertise and insights to further elevate our industry,” remarked Arlene Friday, CEO of GHTA.

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Caribbean News

Jamaica agricultural advancements despite bad weather

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Credit:JIS

Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Jamaica#Agriculture, April 11, 2024 Despite the bad weather conditions in 2023, especially the drought period, Jamaica was able to achieve its second highest domestic crop production on record with over 700 thousand tonnes of local crops produced. This was announced by state minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Franklin Witter, on Sunday April 7, at the 41st annual National Farmers’ Month church service held in Trelawney.

 

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Caribbean News

Guyana Wildfires

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Wildfires#Guyana, April 11, 2024 – Wildfires have been affecting Guyana, the most recent in the Timehri Community on the north-eastern side since April 4, according to a release from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO).

The report says according to PAHO, as of April 5, 28 people have been displaced in a shelter in the Santa Aratack Village. Additionally, the JRC Global Wildfire Information System, also featured in the release, says the total burnt area is more than 16,500 ha.

This comes nearly a month after a 93 year old man was killed by a wildfire in north West Guyana.

Reports say the entire region is dealing with wildfires including Venezuela, Central America and Mexico with a record number of fires, and a major increase compared to the same period in 2023.

 

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