Tourism jobs coming back, says CHTA

by Jun 25, 2022Pulse

WITH some 2.35 million tourism workers across the Caribbean back on the job after being impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic the region is set to steadily recover to the record levels of 2019 according to president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig.

There were 2.75 million tourism workers across Caribbean destinations in 2019. That fell to 2.04 million the following year as the region grappled with the onset of the pandemic.

Madden-Greig pointed out that there has been a 310,000 increase in tourism workers since 2021.

While this is exciting news, the CHTA president believes there is still a need for caution across the sector as “we have to continue to look at our visitor expenditure which is still behind our 2019 levels”.

Citing a World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Caribbean Economic Impact Report, Madden-Greig said the region earned US$18.2 billion from international visitors in 2021 compared to US$36.4 billion in 2019. Despite this fall in numbers, she is hopeful “that in 2022, as things begin to change, we will see that bump up significantly”.

Earnings from domestic travel have also been recovering after falling from US$13 billion to US$7.9 billion in 2020, said Madden-Greig. The region earned US$11.6 billion from domestic travel in 2021.

“On the domestic side, we are seeing almost a full return to 2019 levels — and that is very good news — so the WTTC is predicting travel and tourism GDPs forecasted to grow at an average of 5.5 per cent annually,” she said during a CHTA industry performance and outlook briefing.

The CHTA head continued, “There is a lot of opportunity and pent-up demands for Caribbean tourism to take advantage of. We are definitely in the position to do so and 2022, while we did have a January and February that were not strong because of the Omicron variant, we are seeing, from March into June really strong demand for Caribbean travel.”

The CHTA president stated that with these recoveries, there have been major economic improvements across the region since the reopening of the tourism sector in 2021.

“We have been recovering but we are not yet at our 2019 levels. We are seeing that in terms of our contribution to GDP, we have moved up to 9.1 per cent or in the region of US$39.3 billion, so that is a positive change,” Madden-Greig opined.

According to WTTC, the Caribbean tourism industry racked up US$61.5 billion in 2019 while US$39.3 billion was earned in 2021.


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