MIAMI, United States (CMC) — The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund, established by the non-profit organisation Tourism Cares, and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), have collected more than US$275,000 in charitable donations to build long-term recovery and enhance the ability of hurricane impacted destinations to rebound as quickly as possible.
In a joint statement on Friday, CHTA President Frank Comito and Paula Vlamings, chief executive of Tourism Cares, outlined the success of the collaborative fundraising venture and reported that assistance has gone to Caribbean nations and territories for several activities.
These include training and education, restoring destination capacity, the physical restoration of tourism-related infrastructure, social enterprise development, job creation, hotel training, volunteerism, marketing and public relations support and the environment.
“With another hurricane season in full swing, we are so grateful for the way all sectors of the travel industry came together to invest in the vulnerable people and places we depend on,” said the statement, as both organisations thanked donors for their support during last year’s unprecedented hurricane season.
“Because of the generosity of our donors, tourism infrastructure is being repaired, the workforce will receive new training and opportunities, and more communities will benefit from tourism dollars,” the organisations added. “Together, we’re empowering destinations to build resilience.
“As an industry, we have the powerful opportunity to use our business to benefit the local communities and fragile ecosystems that are the pillars of our businesses,” the continued. Highlighting CHTA immediate past President Karolin Troubetzkoy’s role in the launch of the “One Caribbean Family” initiative, a special marketing programme, which spurred CHTA member support for the recovery fund, the tourism leaders thanked the St Lucian hotelier for her leadership.
Inspired by Troubetzkoy, CHTA said it challenged its members to participate in the “One Caribbean Family” marketing campaign.
As a result, CHTA said dozens of hotel and travel companies, doing business in areas of the Caribbean not directly impacted by the hurricanes, contributed a portion of booking revenue to the fund.
CHTA said companies and individuals in airlines, destinations, meetings/academia, media/public relations, travel industry associations, financial/professional services, travel agencies, online travel agencies, lodging, hospitality, cruise, and attractions were “fired up by the power of giving.”
It said, through their donations, they are “helping to accelerate recovery and bring stability to the affected areas.”
“As we continue to assess the needs of the people and the industry, the remainder will be allocated in the final phase of distribution this summer,” Comito and Vlamings said.
They said the first phase has funded the strengthening of local hotel and tourism associations in Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St Maarten, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Comito and Vlamings said the first phase also helped participants attend 2018 Caribbean Travel Marketplace, allowing them to meet with travel partners and the travel trade media to brief them on recovery efforts and generate business in the aftermath of the hurricanes.
CHTA said the fund also provided several affected destinations in the region with training on how to establish an effective volunteerism programme, “bringing visitors back to assist with recovery initiatives, while spending much-needed cash locally.”