CHTA Emphasizes the Need for Better Air Connectivity to Foster Tourism Growth

The content originally appeared on: The Barnacle News
CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, OD

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL– The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) wants a full-court press from regional stakeholders to boost air connectivity this year.

“As tourism rebounds, there is absolutely no room for complacency,” warned Nicola Madden-Greig, who called on industry officials to remain laser-focused on maintaining the airlift that has returned since the pandemic and strengthening it into the future.

“This means connecting the region to its source markets, pursuing new links to emerging destinations, and returning intra-regional travel to its glory days when convenient schedules as well as affordable fares were the norm,” the Jamaican hotelier asserted.

Madden-Greig commended recent expansion efforts by indigenous carriers such as Caribbean Airlines and interCaribbean Airways, and was encouraged by LIAT’s transition to a new company to eventually “bolster efforts to promote multi-destination travel throughout the region.”

Reflecting on the past year, Madden-Greig said that despite the global downturn in inbound tourism, the Caribbean has defied the odds with an impressive increase in visitors. “This achievement, however, has not been equal across all destinations, as many still face challenges posed by air connectivity issues and soaring costs.”

“As we set our sights on the horizon, it is paramount that we elevate Caribbean tourism beyond recovery and growth, literally propelling it into the stratosphere. Our vision is clear: learn from our successful innovations and recovery stories, implement best practices, and foster seamless collaboration with industry and government stakeholders. And together, we can reach new heights and redefine the narrative of Caribbean tourism,” she commented.

In addition to addressing the ongoing challenges of air connectivity, Madden-Greig stated that “we need to strengthen our resilience by implementing robust crisis preparedness strategies, ensuring the safety and security of both visitors and residents alike, while embracing sustainable practices to safeguard our pristine landscapes and promote responsible tourism.”

Preparing team members to meet the new paradigm shift brought on by technological advances and consumer preferences is also of critical importance to the region, she noted, explaining that the region’s public and private sectors must empower local entrepreneurs to create pathways for generational wealth through the expansion of micro-, small- and medium-sized tourism enterprises. “We have a heritage of creativity, innovation and resilience, and we must continue to write the success story of Caribbean tourism, a narrative of prosperity, sustainability and inclusivity,” she noted.