Things are looking up for hotels in the Caribbean as the region gears up for the start of the winter season. Frank Comito, Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), said they are seeing an increase in bookings in the accommodation sector. Speaking at a Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) webinar on Wednesday, Comito said they are seeing a slight uptick with STR reporting occupancy levels slightly above 20 per cent for 13 destinations whose borders are open. Notably, Comito said Belize reported 70 per cent occupancy from locals traveling within the country and staying at hotels.
“It is about what we anticipated. We anticipated through the summer we would be running around 20 to 30 per cent in occupancy for the properties that are open,” he said.
Caribbean can be close to 70% Occupancy by early 2021
He said bookings are moving at a pace that will put the region on a track to run as high as 40 per cent. Additionally, the Caribbean could possible be close to 70 per cent in the early months of 2021. Comito said one of the factors contributing to the bump in occupancy is a healthy intra-Caribbean and local travel and stays at hotels.
“We are seeing a lot of advanced bookings and some of us are protected by the fact that we have strong cancellation policies in place and that provides some sense of insurance that if things change the travelers are protected,” Comito said.
Belize is currently closed for international travel, but plans to reopen its airport on Oct. 1, 2020. All travellers to the Central American and Caribbean nation must test negative for COVID-19 and only stay at approved Gold Standard hotels. Some of the pre-travel requirements involve downloading and registering on the “Belize Health App” that will help authorities manage your movement in the country while providing COVID-19 related information. Visitors must also take a PCR test within 72 hours of boarding their flight, or take a rapid test inside its airport clinic.