Puerto Rico: Attendance at CHTIC 2010 Up 18 Percent From 2009

The Official Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC 2010) welcomed “a very gratifying attendance of 349 delegates,” an 18-percent increase over the 296 attendees in 2009, according to Alec Sanguinetti, Director General and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).

The event was highlighted by a keynote address from Robert Crandall, former Chairman and CEO of AMR Corporation and American Airlines, in which he called for a new regional marketing campaign and the easing of on-island taxation of the hospitality and tourism sector.

During CHTIC 2010 in Puerto Rico, CHTA announced the dates for the 15th Annual Official Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC 2011), which will be held May 10–12 in one of three Caribbean nations currently bidding to host the event. The annual conference draws hoteliers, developers, tourist office officials, lenders and others interested in Caribbean tourism. Enrique De Marchena Kaluche, president of CHTA, welcomed delegates on behalf of CHTA, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Puerto Rico Convention Bureau (PRCB), Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) and Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), and then introduced a specially prepared video from former U.S. President Bill Clinton about the Haiti initiatives he and former U.S. President George W. Bush are spearheading. Puerto Rico Governor, the Honorable Luis Fortuño, also the former head of the PRTC, expressed his strong support for tourism as the leading generator of funds for the fragile economies of the Caribbean nations.

Puerto Rico has been making a huge effort with marketing, promotions and investments, as witnessed by this state-of-the-art Convention Center which has enabled CHTA to have a variety of very successful conferences over the past few years. De Marchena noted that “While RevPAR and room rates are up as compared to 2009 levels, they are still down overall from 2008. The good news is that we can now safely say that from this point on, the tourism industry appears to be stabilizing. “Now is the time to invest in tourism, not when occupancy is high and you can’t afford to close down wings of your property for expansion and renovation. Now is the time to look at the investment opportunities as it is crucial that we prepare for the return of the millions of visitors that traditionally vacationed in our nations. De Marchena concluded, “We need to turn the red tape into a red carpet and have the public and private sectors work together to succeed as we have done before. We need to do this now, while we have the opportunity to make a difference.”

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com