“Not only to tourism but across the country because of course we were in lockdown for a period, a lot of people were out of jobs,” he says. “We’ve reopened the economy, so a number of entities have reopened, those people are going back to work. But we’re only partially open in the hospitably sector so some people have gone back to work but it’s a gradual thing until we get to the end.”
Although the current forecast is for stayover arrivals to be down 55% for 2020, not to mention a significant drop in cruise arrivals with the extended suspension of cruising, he’s optimistic about recovery.
“We are anticipating that all things considered, we should have significant growth in 2021 where we are forecasting a growth of about 50% on 2020’s numbers,” he said. “From an occupancy standpoint, we should maybe do about 60% occupancy in the hotels in the winter of ’21. It’s an optimistic forecast, but we’re pretty confident, we’re hoping to be honest, that all of our markets will have gotten on top of the virus by then, and so we will be able to promote in all the markets. With the response we’re having now, we should be able to get that 50% growth in 2021.”
Part of the process will see the tourist board continue to work and communicate with agents.
“We will be inviting some of them down to come and see for themselves because travel agents have been very important in the development of our business over the last couple of years,” he continues. “We have done a lot of education and travel agent training, we’ve been doing a lot of promotion with the travel agents, and so we are going to be counting on the travel agents to be our ambassadors to bring our clients back.”