Caribbean Tourism Under Threat, What Challenges Does This Industry Face?

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Caribbean Tourism is currently facing a lot of potential threats that are causing them quite a few problems right now. For those unaware, the Caribbean leads the tourism industry in global recovery efforts. This is now being challenged by things like rising operational costs, increases in airfare, labor shortages, economic uncertainty, and the always problematic global competition. In fact, some governments are increasing taxes and only further hurting the potential tourists that might visit.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association or CHTA is worried about this, and rightfully so. This past week, the association was essentially “bullish” about the future of tourism according to reports, which came after the results of their annual tourism industry performance and outlook survey came out.

The survey was simplistic and asked people about things they were worried about regarding travel and tourism experiences. The report, which was conducted in February, identified that “airlift cost and availability, taxes and duties, labor shortages, crime and safety, and poor infrastructure” were listed as their primary concerns. To be fair, one can see why any or all of these things could be considered problematic to a potential traveler.


Caribbean Tourism Overall

Caribbean On Water Hotels

[Image via Pinterest]

Like what we see in Hawaii, tourism is the primary industry for the Caribbean. They have just under 100 businesses, and 77 of those are connected to the hospitality industry in some form or another. That leaves only 23% that are not, yet those companies are part of tourism-related firms. Those firms could include things like attractions, tour operators, and even restaurants.

Thus, pretty much all of the businesses in the Caribbean are related to tourism and need tourists to visit to get by.

Among other issues that the survey highlighted were things like “challenges from environmental degradation, such as climate change, sargassum, and waste management.” CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig spoke about the issues the Caribbean Tourism industry is facing, telling reporters recently:

“While we’ve turned the pandemic corner, we’re not out of the woods yet. Many businesses are still climbing out of massive debts and facing global competitive pressures on price increases. Now is not the time to increase taxes as we are hearing from several countries.”

The CHTA survey additionally found that tourism companies are “forgoing higher profits and plowing returns into covering debt incurred during the pandemic, then investing in product improvements as capital expenditures soar.”

The CHTA President claimed that public and private sector collaboration will be needed to address the challenges being faced. If they work together, they might be able to stimulate greater intra-regional travel.

On top of this, insufficient destination marketing is a major concern of tourism stakeholders. This too makes sense, as you need to let people know you’re open for business and can offer something special. Thus, there remains a lack of more strategic regional marketing approaches. Madden-Greig claims she will take these concerns under advisement and discuss them with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the CHTA’s top public-sector ally.