REGIONAL TOURISM BODIES CALL ON SECTOR TO ADVANCE HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (June 1, 2022) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) have urged the tourism sector to step up preparations for the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 until November 30, and the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting activity will be “above average” this year.
Between 14 to 21 named storms have been forecast, with six to 10 having the likelihood to become hurricanes, and three to six forecast to be major hurricanes – Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Underscoring the importance of tourism to the socioeconomic development of the region, CTO and CHTA will be undertaking separate as well as joint initiatives to increase awareness across the sector in the coming weeks to reinforce preparations.
Acting CTO Secretary-General Neil Walters asserted that exhaustive planning and information gathering by all stakeholders is critical, pointing out this is key to the continued resilience of the sector especially during the upcoming season.
“CTO has always provided critical tools aimed at mitigating disasters, such as the Multi-Hazard Risk Management Guide which is available to planners through the online tourism training centre, the Caribbean Tourism Institute,” Walters said.
“The importance of preparedness cannot be reiterated enough. It has proven to be one of the key factors enabling the sector to make swift and solid recoveries following setbacks,” he added.
The guide addresses all phases of the disaster management cycle through the dissemination of crisis communication and social media best practices, and both tourism bodies will continue such awareness initiatives in the weeks ahead.
Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of CHTA, which has played a pivotal role in helping regional stakeholders navigate hurricane season through awareness campaigns, reiterated the value of planning and preparedness.
“We will continue to provide extensive education on insurance, best practices for businesses, communication strategies, cancellation practices, and regional response mechanisms to ensure stakeholders can weather any challenges associated with this year’s season,” she said.
Both CTO and CHTA believe high levels of preparedness have enabled Caribbean destinations to rebound swiftly from natural disasters in the past.
The organizations stressed that in any given year most of the Caribbean is untouched by a major hurricane, citing the vast geography of the region. Despite the relative safety of the region for summer and fall travel, the region takes planning and readiness seriously. CTO and CHTA attribute that readiness to the Caribbean’s ability to bounce back from a crisis situation faster than most areas of the world.
As part of their preparation activities, the two organizations are conducting a two-part readiness training session for public and private sector tourism managers on Friday, June 10 and Thursday, June 30. Registration details will be announced shortly.