The Caribbean Hotel association celebrates in 2002 its 40th anniversary as the body that brings together the members of the Caribbean hospitality industry to address a broad range of issues that are common to them. Over four decades , CHA has metamorphosed from a trade association, to a development agency for the region`s tourism private sector.
In the early 1990s, while marketing was a top priority, there was new concern for product development.“With so many destinations aggressively seeking a slice of the international tourism pie, the Caribbean could no longer rely purely on its beauty and climate alone,” said John Bell. “We had to be more professional.”
In response, the CHA developed a host of programs geared to help Caribbean hoteliers to increase the quality of their product and their competitiveness. “Quality and value are keys to success - and product development is how we deliver”, became the new motto.
CHA has become recognised representative of the Caribbean hospitality industry, as well as THE private sector developmental partner by international agencies active in the region, such as European Union, and the Organisation of the United States. “Over the past year, we have worked with CARIFORUM, CTO and the european Union to ensure a significant private sector role in future cooperation packages for Caribbean tourism,” said John Bell.
CHA recognises that there is much work to be done. “There have been outstanding critical issues to be resolved in order to turn around the industry and maximise the benefits” said Ralph Taylor “Among them are safety and security; taxation; environmental protection; linkages with other sectors, and investment.
To address these, the public and the private sectors must work together.”
The third phase in the CHA`s evolution is advocacy.
A significant step in the right direction is the recent Regional Tourism summit, held in the Bahamas, where the heads of government tourism called for a long-range Master Plan for Tourism, to be developed by a joint sector-private sector comittee by June 2002. Another plan to revive advertising for the Caribbean as a region in the important USA market. “CHA is pleased to be working with the partners in the public sector in driving the effort,” added Taylor.
“Today , CHA is recognised as an industry leader and a model for other regional hotel associations” declared John Bell. “We look forward to the new role of CHA in the develoopment of the Caribbean Tourism industry in the years ahead” he concluded.
To find read about CHA`s internet marketing plans in the near future, an interview with Alec Singuinette will be published in the special Report Section at www.breakingtravelnews next week.