In May, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) shared its first update as an insight to travel recovery and new milestones for stakeholders to look forward to. During the current COVID-19 crisis, CHTA recommends using this downtime to plan for travel recovery, especially with a balance of reality and expectation. Just this week, Belize joins two other Caribbean nations to report zero active coronavirus cases.
While some airlines, hotels and destinations are looking to reopen in the next few weeks and months, the current situation remains fluid. A regional acceleration in the COVID-19 pandemic’s spread, and possibility of a second wave in the fall, will affect border openings and consumer travel confidence.
There is a growing amount of data which can help to drive decision-making over the coming weeks and months. We wish to highlight several, starting with CHTA’s recently completed member survey which queried the industry on a number of matters to gauge impact and outlook. Read more on the survey here.
Main Takeaways of CHTA’s COVID-19 Travel Survey:
- 69% of Caribbean hotels that are presently closed will reopen before the end of July if borders are open.
- Intra-Caribbean Business and Leisure Travel is expected to return first. Land-based travel is next – from the U.S. and Canada, then Europe. Cruise travel’s return expected to take at least 10 months.
- Recovery is expected to be gradual. There’s 28% expressing confidence in a tourism turnaround by the end of 2020. However, most are anticipating the beginning of a significant turnaround to take longer, into the first half of 2021. Note: other data is indicating that hotel occupancy next winter/spring will still likely be running under 50 percent during the traditional peak season.
- Nearly 2/3rds of employers reported in April being able to provide some measure of salary support for employees. Most cited it difficult to do so even on partial basis beyond two months.
- Hotels peg break-even occupancy level at 52% with austerity measures in place. Summer and fall occupancies are expected to be between a 10% to 40% range.
- 43% of COVID-19 induced cancellations will rebook. Most hotels honored a no-penalty rebooking window of 12 months.
- 69% of hotels report not receiving reimbursements from some tour operators for services in first quarter.
- The average amount outstanding by tour operators delaying reimbursements is $219,00. The highest reported outstanding amount owned to one property is $15 million.
- 68% report not having business interruption insurance, with the overwhelming percentage who do have it indicating it does not cover a pandemic.