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TTC Special. Caribbean: Recovery and rejuvenation in 2018

TTC Special. Caribbean: Recovery and rejuvenation in 2018
By F. Martin

TTC Service.- Tourists arriving in the Caribbean in 2018 will find two fundamental things, “optimism and excitement”.

That was the central idea of the New Year’s message of the Secretary General of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Hugh Riley after 2017, a very complex year for the region.

Riley remembered in his message that last year was a challenging one, mainly due to the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which “not only destroyed property, but also took the lives of many of our citizens”.

But his conclusion about it, was far from pessimism. He said there are reasons to be optimistic about next year when he expect to see “a product that is rebuilt stronger, better and even more attractive” than before.

“That’s the plan, however long it takes to deliver,” he stressed.

With tourism being the main economic driver for most of the Caribbean, Riley said the CTO would continue to place “enormous emphasis on delivering value and a superb visitor experience”.

The CTO had dubbed 2018 the Year of Rejuvenation. “With wellness and rejuvenation being important aspects of the Caribbean tourism product, we are encouraging our member countries and private sector partners to plan and organize events and activities around that theme,” Riley said.

He added that for those who focus on renewing body and spirit, the options are virtually endless. “The region’s diverse tropical landscape with mountain ranges, valleys and volcanoes, provide excellent opportunities for a variety of ages and physical abilities. Individual trekking, group hiking, health walks, fun-runs, marathons and a range of water-based health-related activities are held throughout the year in our CTO member-countries”, according to Riley.

The 2018 Caribbean year of wellness and rejuvenation will be promoted by CTO through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travelers and holiday planners to share their experiences and ideas of how to welcome visitors to the region for wellness and rejuvenation.

However, the Caribbean still need some time to recovery.

Many experts think so. One of them is the president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Karolin Troubetzkoy. In her New Year’s message, Troubetzkoy said 2017 was a year “which many of us would rather forget, and particularly, wished the month of September never happened.

“As if our regional challenges with Zika had not been enough, two Category 5 storms put tested us as never before – a test for our region, governments, people and, also, for CHTA” she added and recommended that the region embraced “our oneness and were inspired to create the One Caribbean Family initiation, encouraging international and regional tourism communities to pledge their support”.

Concerning a common global problem for 2018, climate change, she said adaptation is no longer an option – but an urgent necessity.

“We will use the knowledge gained from dealing with those unprecedented storms and flooding to make us better prepared for whatever weather-related events the future holds”, Troubetzkoy said.

She said that while discussion is currently centered on CARICOM (Caribbean Community) jurisdictions, “we at the CHTA call for this to become a pan-Caribbean effort.”