Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) have teamed up to strengthen the relationship between travel advisors and the region.

The partnership between the two organizations is intended to generate synergies in areas such as advocacy, information exchange, and cross-organizational membership.

Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of CHTA, sees great value in the networking opportunity, noting that travel advisors represent a valuable untapped channel for growth: “This is an enormously smart partnership, which gives our members direct access to ASTA, the leading trade association for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public.”

She added: “We are seeing an increasing trend in travellers’ booking behavior, in that they are relying on travel advisors more and more to help them make decisions. This trend gives CHTA members further opportunity to connect with more clients.”

Under the agreement, CHTA members will be offered a 50-percent discount to join ASTA, available through mid-July. Further details can be found at https://caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/member-product-discounts.

“We are excited to announce this partnership between the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA),” said Christina Salu, Membership Director of ASTA. “Our job is to help generate new business leads and B2B opportunities – helping to expand your reach and increase tourism to the Caribbean. With over 13,000 members and growing, ASTA is the leading trade association for travel advisors, the travel industry, and the traveling public. Our membership represents 80 percent of the travel sold from the U.S. agency industry.

“We not only want to help you understand the U.S. travel market, but we also want to help you build brand awareness and strong partnerships with U.S.-based travel agencies that are looking for trusted suppliers, tour operators and DMCs in the Caribbean,” said Salu.

Ledesma expects a productive partnership for CHTA members aligning with ASTA: “CHTA members will be able to use the ASTA logo, be listed in ASTA’s member directory and their quarterly magazine Travel Advisor, gain access to ASTA’s global network of travel professionals, and benefit from discounts on products and events as well as the use of industry resources to help save time and money.”

In addition to sharing the benefits of critical member news, contacts and industry updates, the two associations will also collaborate on crafting advocacy strategies critical to the speedy and successful return to pre-pandemic levels of business.

“It’s been a rough pandemic for us and for our visitors and we want to make use of our partnership to broaden the reach of our messaging and to strengthen the impact of our Caribbean region promotions to enable a rapid return to normalcy and profitability,” Ledesma added.

Ledesma was upbeat about the newly minted partnership’s potential to jointly identify new business leads and business-to-business opportunities: “CHTA looks forward to helping ASTA and its global network of travel professionals expand their reach into the Caribbean, which obviously is good for us all.”

The Mexican resort of Cozumel welcomed the first arrival of a cruise ship carrying passengers since the coronavirus pandemic essentially collapsed the industry.

Officials in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo welcomed Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas as it arrived from Nassau in the Bahamas at the arrival at the world's busiest stopover for cruise ships.

The cruise line requires all passengers 16 and over to be fully vaccinated. Those who don't have to get Covid-19 tests.

Gov. Carlos Joaquin said about 5% of passengers aboard the ship -- about 150 youths or those with chronic health conditions -- haven't been vaccinated and would be subject to special rules. State and federal health officials were on hand to oversee the arrival.

Mexico has not instituted any testing requirement for incoming passengers, and anecdotal evidence suggests tourists are attracted to Mexico's Caribbean resorts in part because there has been no lockdown and health precautions are largely voluntary. Many visitors shed their masks when they reach their hotels or beach clubs.

The state has seen a recent upsurge in Covid-19 cases, in part linked to increased travel around Easter week, and partial reductions at businesses like hotels and restaurants have been implemented to stem the upsurge.

The world tourism industry is enduring a historic moment and is opening with hope for the future. Central America and the Dominican Republic are not lagging behind and are certainly betting on making a joint projection with the launch of a campaign entitled "Central America + Dominican Republic: The Healthiest Trip in the World", which will be carried out by the Central American Tourism Promotion Agency (CATA).

Featuring a motto that goes #JuntosSumamos, the campaign is aimed at creating tourism products for tour operators from both territories in a bid to put them on the map to wholesalers in Europe and America, as well as to take advantage of the airlift in the Dominican Republic-Panama route as a bridge between the region. 

The initiative hinges on a concept of health and biosecurity symbolized through a healthy heart where the Dominican Republic is reflected as a strategic partner of Central America for the promotion of offers linked to wellness, combined with beach, nature and heritage that allows travellers to enjoy a whole.

This campaign is a clear indicator of the work conducted by the governments and peoples that make up the Central American Integration System (SICA) in an effort to contribute to the reactivation of the economic and social activity of the tourism sector, as well as to let the world know that there are paradisiacal destinations that can be enjoyed with peace of mind and safety. 

In this regard, Mr. Gustavo Segura Sancho, Minister of Tourism of Costa Rica and President Pro Tempore of CATA's Board of Directors, said that "this stage of recovery provides the opportunity to promote a greener, more resilient and sustainable tourism industry, adding that this joint promotion campaign places the SICA region as a privileged destination, with a special focus on health and biosafety, for its diverse, unique and complementary tourism products, giving tourists the chance to live unforgettable experiences through the multi-destination". 

The addition of the Dominican Republic's tourism product into Central America's promotional activities is evidence of a far more powerful regional offer that can boast of capturing the attention of increasingly demanding travellers. The fusion of these two worlds makes it possible to wallow in one of the most important destinations in the Caribbean and mix it with any of the destinations Central America has to offer. 

Today, the Dominican Republic is one of the most important travel destinations, being the second-largest and most diverse country in the Caribbean thanks to its geography, nature and people. With its addition to CATA's efforts, a window of opportunities opens up, highlighting the access and direct connection between Central America and Europe, and giving added value to the promotion of multi-destination in international markets.

The latest booking figures from leading independent travel agency, Travel Counsellors, indicate that Brits are looking well ahead when planning their next big holiday. 31% of all new holiday bookings made last week (w/c 7 June) were for winter 2021/22, and 23% were for summer 2022. The UK remains as this year’s most popular summer destination.

With the current uncertainty and changes to the destinations on the traffic light system, Britons are clearly postponing their big getaway. The USA, Maldives, UAE and Barbados are leading the bookings for winter 2021/22; while Greece, USA and Spain are most popular destinations for summer next year.

Last week, Travel Counsellors received over 500 customer enquiries for summer staycations, as the UK remains as the most popular destination for this summer (23% of new summer bookings made last week), followed by Greece (8%) and the US (8%).

Jim Eastwood, Global Sales Director at Travel Counsellors, says: “Because of the current travel insecurity and the government’s ambiguity on amber destinations, customers are planning well ahead and making bookings - or re-booking - for up to summer next year. By booking with one of our trusted travel advisors’ clients can receive the latest advice and know that there is someone on hand to amend arrangements should plans have to change, whilst being safe in the knowledge that their money is fully financial protected.

“Travel has of course become more complex than ever, with the traffic light system and latest FCDO advice to navigate. Placing travel plans in the hands of an experienced travel professional has never felt so important”, Jim concludes.

Travel Counsellors has almost 1,500 experts across the UK who offer support, local expertise and reassurance from ‘inspiration to destination’.

 

new survey from The Vacationer shows 132 Million American adults (51%) plan to travel for the Fourth of July this year. Of those traveling, 32% (83 million adults) will spend $500 or more on flights, hotels, tickets, gas, and other travel expenses.

The Vacationer polled 531 American adults over the age of 18 between June 1 and June 2, 2021. Results were analysed by The Vacationer's Eric Jones, who is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Rowan College South Jersey.

With COVID-19 cases waning in the United States, more Americans feel comfortable traveling. In addition to the Fourth of July, participants were asked if they travelled on the following holidays.

Memorial Day 2021. — 27.17%

Easter 2021. — 15.09%

Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa 2020. — 23.40%

Thanksgiving 2020. — 22.26%

Fourth of July 2020. — 14.72%

The number of people that will travel for the Fourth of July this year (51%) is nearly double the amount that travelled for Memorial Day. More people will travel for the Fourth of July this year than Memorial Day and Easter combined. Additionally, the expected number of people traveling this year will be 3.5 times more than for the Fourth of July last year.

Of those who will travel on the Fourth of July, 11.26% will do it primarily by plane while 36.59% will do it primarily by car. The remaining 3.56% will do it by bus or train. Despite it only being 11.26%, nearly 29 million American adults will fly on a plane.

32.1% of American adults or nearly 83 million people will spend more than $500 for Fourth of July travel. Additionally, more than 17% of American adults or over 44 million people will spend more than $1,000. Almost 3 out of every 4 American adults or nearly 190 million people will attend a BBQ or cookout for the Fourth of July. 

Almost 2 out of every 3 American adults still rate COVID-19 as "Slightly a Concern" or "A Big Concern" when planning for the Fourth of July. Despite more than 50% of Americans having at least one vaccine shot, it's obvious many people are still very cautious about the ongoing pandemic.

Heads of government across the Eastern Caribbean have thrown their support behind calls made last week by U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Governor Albert Bryan Jr. to encourage the state of Florida to allow cruise lines to enable vaccination checks for Caribbean-bound passengers.

In a letter to the USVI leader, Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), expressed the sub-regional group’s deep appreciation to Governor Bryan for writing to Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis seeking special consideration in the Florida legislation to aid the revitalization of the cruise industry in the Caribbean. As increasing numbers of Americans receive COVID-19 vaccinations, Governor Bryan argued that ensuring the cruise industry reopens with vaccinated passengers is essential to the tourism economies of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean.

“We are deeply concerned - as you are - with the grave inherent difficulties for our effort to safeguard lives and to reignite livelihoods as we are among the most tourism dependent economies of the world. While the new law is not specific to the cruise business, it will potentially have a huge deleterious effect on it because almost all cruise ships (especially to the Caribbean) originate from ports within the state of Florida,” stated Prime Minister Skerrit, who observed the new Florida state law (which goes into effect on July 1) appears to conflict with Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health and safety guidelines, which include the vaccination of 95% of passengers and crew members.

“For us as small island developing states whose economies are largely fueled by tourism, the vaccination status of industry players (both visitors and industry workers - whether cruise or land-based) is essential to our strategy in the OECS to safeguard the lives of both our people and visitors and restore our economies,” Prime Minister Skerrit asserted.

He disclosed that the OECS leaders propose to advance arguments in further support of the advocacy undertaken by Governor Bryan, “and will urge partners in the cruise as well as the land-based tourism industry to add their voices in appeal to Governor DeSantis.”

Governor Bryan thanked the OECS leaders for their support: “As Caribbean people it is important that we stand united on these important issues. Cruise ships don’t just sail to one destination. We are one Caribbean and our health care infrastructure is too vulnerable to handle widespread outbreaks of illness.”

Governor Bryan commended the Florida governor for his commitment to health, civil liberties and economic revitalization, while underscoring that there are millions of people in the Caribbean who are counting on him to work with his lawmakers to ensure that travellers are healthy and vaccinated before sailing to Caribbean destinations.

“Smart public health safety guidelines can coexist with the restart of the Caribbean’s economic engine,” he reiterated.

Prime Minister Skerrit’s correspondence was copied to heads of government in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the head of the OECS Secretariat.