Sun | Jan 23, 2022

JHTA projects 65 per cent occupancy for winter tourist season

Published:Saturday | November 27, 2021 | 6:11 PM
During a recent visit by travel agents and tour operators, several hotels received excellent ratings for maintenance of product standards and health and safety protocols.

The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) is projecting an average 65 per cent occupancy for the 2021 winter tourist season.

This would be similar to 2019, which was the best winter tourist season in recent times.

According the just re-elected JHTA president Clifton Reader, tourism is rebounding amid the COVID-19 pandemic but there is no time for complacency.

"We're living with COVID-19 and seeing its minimised effects but we must still be cognisant it is still there," said Reader.

He said during a recent visit by travel agents and tour operators, the hotels received excellent ratings for maintenance of product standards and health and safety protocols which will translate to increased bookings for the destination.  

Reader said this would benefit other industries including farmers and other suppliers.

At the same time, the JHTA boss has called for the Government to help in developing the skills sets required for a superior industry. 

"Several hotels run in-house training programmes for their staff, but we need a national programme which offers a pipeline to trained professionals whenever we need them," he said.

Reader said the JHTA will be meeting with various stakeholders to define the best programme relevant to the times.

According to him, the body will also be seeking Government support to provide more scholarships to students of hospitality and tourism and JHTA members will be partnering with universities to help develop workers for the industry and to give back to the community.

He has also encouraged hotels to provide more internships for students.

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