By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Caribbean is missing a huge opportunity to reap the economic benefits of tourism, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association President Frank Comito said this week.
Empty hotel rooms are costing the region billions of dollars in economic opportunity each year, he warned.
Indeed, the Caribbean has an estimated 84,000 hotel rooms vacant each night.
Filling just 10 percent of them would inject nearly $2 billion into the Caribbean’s coffers each year, he said.
“We have the room capacity across most of our destinations to further increase the economic impact of tourism. Focused efforts by the public and private sectors to fill the large amount of unused room inventory will yield considerable results,” said Comito, who is leading the team working on next year’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Montego Bay.
According to STR and CHTA research data, Comito said an additional 10 percent in visitor expenditures would generate $628 million more in room revenue each year.
“Filling hotel rooms generates the highest spinoff impact on tax revenues, employment and economic activity compared with all other important categories of visitors, including cruise passengers, renters and yachters,” he said.