Caribbean tourism growth needs collective strategy

Bevan Springer | 7/30/2015, 12:06 p.m.
Bill Clegg, a respected hotel industry professional, believes that as the Caribbean tourism industry recovers, its leadership should work more ...

Bill Clegg, a respected hotel industry professional, believes that as the Caribbean tourism industry recovers, its leadership should work more collectively to ensure growth in the region is sustained.

Citing Smith Travel Research data, Clegg, a regional vice president of Franchise Services and Programs for Choice Hotels International, one of the world’s leading hotel companies, asserted hotels of all sizes and other tourism businesses are having a banner year.

“To ensure that this upward trend continues, now is the time for hospitality and tourism stakeholders to come together. The data suggests that the recovery has been progressing steadily since 2009, we want to continue to sustain that,” said Clegg.

The industry executive rallied support for the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum, taking place Oct. 2 to 4 in Puerto Rico.

“This event offers many opportunities for education, networking and sharing of best practices in the heart of paradise—the Caribbean,” said Clegg, adding that Choice Hotels will support the event at the level of Gold sponsor. “We are encouraged by the uptick in business, and we are keen to participate in such an important event, offering educational opportunities, exposure to thought-provoking keynote speakers and an opportunity to network with hospitality industry leaders from throughout the region.”

Clegg recalled how Choice Hotels has long supported the development and success of hoteliers in the region. “From our first franchised hotels in the region that opened nearly 25 years ago, to the nine open and operating hotels, and four more under development today, we have seen the value of networking and the development of innovative approaches to foster individual hotel success,” said Clegg.

Clegg, who chairs CHTA’s membership committee, said the association is an effective organization that facilitates various aspects of industry support in the region from regional marketing to the sharing of best practices, along with events such as “Caribbean Marketplace,” “Taste of the Caribbean” and the “Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit.”

The Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum offers three days of value-packed events and engaging exchange sessions focused on helping businesses to generate revenue, reduce costs and become more relevant and efficient. An interactive trade show format, featuring an open floor plan, has been designed so participants and exhibitors can interact through live demonstrations of new products.

The Choice Hotels International Caribbean portfolio currently includes hotels in the Caribbean destinations of Aruba, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten and also the Bahamas.