MIAMI (August 17, 2016) – The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association
(CHTA), Karolin Troubetzkoy sees the upcoming Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange
Forum (CHIEF) as an opportunity for hotels and tourism-related businesses to take stock
and to “open our eyes to the bigger picture, which is so important if we want to succeed
not only as individual businesses and destinations, but also as a region.”
Speaking to reporters earlier this month in Miami, where CHTA is headquartered,
Troubetzkoy stated the second annual forum, slated for the El Conquistador Resort in
Puerto Rico from September 30 to October 2, 2016, will build on the success of last year’s
She contended the upcoming exchange is an especially important one since 2016 has
proven so far to be a year of significant change and challenges for the Caribbean hospitality
industry. As an example, she pointed to growth in travel to Cuba where approximately 2.1
million travelers visited the island during the first six months of 2016, an 11.7 percent
increase over the same period in 2015.
“We have to ask what effect the opening of Cuba to U.S. travelers will have on the rest of
the Caribbean. How will we deal with the shift of more American travelers going to Cuba
and how will we make up for that?”
CHTA embraces the lifting of the Cuba trade embargo and the lifting of U.S. travel
restrictions. At the same time, the association cautions in its policy paper on Cuba that this
serves as a wake-up call for many destinations and hotel operators in the region to elevate
their game and become more competitive.
At CHIEF, hoteliers will also be looking at another element of concern – the impact of the
growing sharing economy led by Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. With the Caribbean region
poised to surpass the 30 million mark in visitor arrivals for the first time this year (although
hotels are reporting mixed results in occupancies), Troubetzkoy believes the traditional
accommodations industry must be prepared to understand shifting consumer motivations
and to find creative ways to make the sharing economy work to its advantage.
High on the list of issues currently impacting the Caribbean tourism sector are: the effects
of Zika, the Brexit outcome, increases in global terrorism risks, high airfares, rising hotel
operating costs, and ineffective marketing efforts. “At CHIEF there will be a healthy dose of
peer-to-peer exchanges to flush out ideas and best practices. There is no doubt that
Caribbean hotels and destinations which adapt to change and are prepared to deal with
uncertainty are better positioned to come out ahead,” said Troubetzkoy.
Sessions at this year’s CHIEF conference will focus on Environmental Sustainability,
Operations, Sales and Marketing, and Technology.
CHIEF incorporates a variety of educational tracks led by experts from many travel, tourism
and hospitality industry segments, and features round table panels with one-on-one
discussions on Environmental Sustainability, Operations, Sales and Marketing, and
Technology. CHIEF is staged by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in
conjunction with host sponsors the Bonnier Corporation, Interval International and JetBlue
Getaways; platinum sponsor Travelzoo; and gold sponsors Clear Channel Airports Division,
Johnson Controls, OBM International, Oracle Hospitality, Rainmaker, SiteMinder, STR,
TravAlliance Media, Tropical Shipping and TSA Solutions. For additional information about
CHIEF, visit www.chtachief.com or call +1 305 443-3040.