As Caribbean tourism stakeholders make their way back to their respective homes, they are no doubt reflecting on their in-person connections with colleagues – old and new – during the 40th edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico this week.
There is tremendous optimism about the future of regional tourism, especially given the strong increases in arrivals many destinations have experienced this year. While challenges exist – ranging from labour shortages to air connectivity and the cost of travel – there is a refreshing collective public-private sector resolve to fix many of the issues that could reverse the recent gains the industry has enjoyed.
Many stakeholders remain concerned about sustainability. The matter is not limited to protecting and preserving the natural assets of the region, but also ensuring that the benefits of tourism redound to the true stakeholders of tourism – the people of the Caribbean.
The good news is that in the upcoming weeks and months, several more meetings and discussions are scheduled aimed at taking the region forward. With such robust political will and action-oriented planning, there is good reason to be optimistic.
The region must now cement its strategy for a truly sustainable sector, one destination at a time.