CTO and Airbnb partner to promote tourism in the Caribbean despite COVID-19

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), in partnership with homesharing platform Airbnb, is pushing for an increase of tourism in the region this year despite the continued impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

Through this partnership both entities believe that they can promote safe and responsible travel in the Caribbean which could help to strengthen the region’s recovery from the fallouts caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled the sector since its onset last year.

The partnership is one of several initiatives in the CTO’s ongoing programme to help its members rebuild tourism in their destinations. As part of the collaboration, Airbnb will launch a marketing campaign that will see it promoting CTO member countries across its vast global community.

According to Neil Walters, acting secretary general of the CTO, in a statement this week, “The partnership with Airbnb will help us to promote the region responsibly by providing our members with a platform to showcase their destinations while at the same time highlighting the health safety measures that each has implemented to ensure that visitors can enjoy a safe Caribbean experience during this time”.

Airbnb’s policy manager for Central America and the Caribbean, Carlos Munoz, commenting on the partnership, said that his organisation was also excited about the economic prospects that is to come from the venture.

“With the Caribbean continuing to reopen, we’re helping to usher in the safe return of travel to this wonderful region by shining a light on the many places to see and things to do,” he said.

Airbnb’s marketing campaign is to include the roll-out of a series of e-mail newsletters and a landing page highlighting the CTO’s member countries and their respective protocols for safe travel during this time. The entity has also pledged to share data with the CTO, including travel trends, so as to facilitate informed marketing decisions during the recovery period.

The CTO, in its annual report for 2020, said that the Caribbean’s performance in 2021 will depend largely on the success of the authorities in the marketplace and the region in combatting, containing and controlling the virus. It said that encouraging signs like the vaccine roll-out taking place in North America, Europe and the Caribbean were some promising signs for the industry.

The Barbados-based organisation, however, said that its forecast was tempered by factors including ease of lockdowns in key source markets along with renewed international travel confidence.

“With these factors taken into consideration, our initial forecast is for a 20 per cent rise in arrivals in 2021, with a similar increase in visitor expenditure, when compared to 2020,” CTO said in its report.