The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) warned hoteliers that many governments in the region still seem not to grasp the enormity of the challenges facing tourism. A public note from CHTA said hundreds of people have lost their jobs in the regional hotel sector over the past year, and tourist arrivals for 2008 went down by three percent compared to 2007.
The organization is planning a region-wide publicity campaign calling on governments to give more support to the sector.
Nevertheless, CARICOM heads of government agreed last year that the industry, the lifeblood of several islands, should form part of the agenda of their annual summits, starting this year in July, recalled Jamaica Observer daily. At their 2008 meeting, the leaders agreed to set up a fund to help the region in international markets.
Enrique de Marchena, the CHTA’s president, said some governments need to be more supportive, beginning with an understanding of the state of the industry right now. He said, “What we are seeing now is that tourism is down in most of the islands.” The CHTA’s plan of action will be reviewed and discussed at a meeting in Miami this June.