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The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s president Nicola Madden-Greig says that “through the pandemic, the growth and use of travel advisors significantly increased.”
Citing recent data from the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Madden-Greig highlighted that nearly half of all travellers from the Americas (44%) say they are more likely to use a travel advisor after the pandemic. This represents a significant increase from the 27% who always or often used a travel advisor prior to the pandemic.
“Nearly all travellers — 94% — who always or often used a travel advisor before the pandemic are likely to use them after the pandemic,” she adds.
While many travel advisors are already certified experts with particular brands in the Caribbean as well as specific destinations, she says the association also saw an opportunity to create a new certified Caribbean Travel Advisor Expert Program.
“We want our travel advisors around the world to really understand the full gamut of what is available in the Caribbean and that there is this absolute fantastic diversity and you can become a Caribbean travel expert so you can sell this really fantastic region not just for one island but for the 20 odd destinations that we have,” she says.
Targeted for launch in 2023, Madden-Greig says the concept is to work alongside ministers of tourism, tourism boards as well as hotel associations to create a robust training program, which will also focus on Caribbean attributes beyond sun, sand and sea, and showcase the 23 destinations that make up the region.
“Travel advisors, particularly those who specialize in geographical or experiential travel, are seeing a resurgence of importance to travellers,” Madden-Greig explains to Travel Courier. “More people are also looking at their ability to provide personalized services. As we emerged out of the worst of the pandemic, more travellers gravitated to travel advisors to seek advice on how to make their travel experience as seamless and safe as possible… There are so many more online travel options that people want more guidance from travel advisors, and their firsthand knowledge of travel and hospitality is invaluable.”
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