CHTA’s outreach to its National Hotel and Tourism Associations continued this past month with our CEO Frank Comito, visiting the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
Upon arrival in Aruba, Frank met with members of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association’s Board of Directors where they discussed marketing and advocacy issues. They were pleased to have CHTA’s insights on matters of concern to them including – the sharing economy, marketing – particularly in light of the vulnerabilities from crisis situations like natural disasters. Frank met with Minister of Tourism, Public Health and Sport Dangui Oduber, and Director for the Aruba Tourism Authority Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes to discuss and share plans for a regional tourism marketing initiative.
In Bonaire, Frank toured member properties as well as those of prospective members, and met with members of the Bonaire Hotel and Tourism Association’s Board of Directors to gain a better understanding of their projects and challenges. He met with the Curvin George Governor for Bonaire and two of the islands Governing Commissioners to discuss importance of tourism, the management of its growth and development, and the value of having in place the appropriate public-private sector Destination Management Organization in accordance with the recommendations from their recently completed tourism master plan. He also had the opportunity to participate in a fundraising dinner for the Bonaire National Culinary Team and met with the team members.
And finally in Curacao, Frank toured the Academy Hotel, a hospitality training school, which is a practical training school operating as a hotel. Discussed some of their ongoing funding challenges with them and how through extended partnerships outside of Curacao the region and the school might benefit. He was able to speak to over 120 tourism and hospitality management students at the Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean about the industry, the Caribbean, opportunities, challenges and the ‘Caribbean brand’. Students asked great questions and provided added insight reinforcing the power of marketing the Caribbean as a brand while bolstering the individuality of the various destinations. He met with members of the Curacao Hotel and Tourism Association’s Board who provided an update on the status of various initiatives being advanced as part of the recently adopted tourism master plan. He met with the recently instated Minister of Economic Development, Steven Martina, offering him insights and data on tourism’s contribution to the Curacao economy and reinforced the importance of putting in place a strong public-private sector DMO to effectively manage the marketing of the destination, drawing upon best practices undertaken elsewhere.