CHTA Calls on Tour Operators to Defray Delayed Payments to Caribbean Hotels
Citing the pressures facing Caribbean hotels and resorts because of the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association is calling on international tour operators that have delayed paying hotels for services delivered to the operators’ clients as early as January to expedite reimbursements, Caribbean Journal reports.
In a letter to major trade organizations representing the bulk of tour operators that do business with the Caribbean, CEO and Director General Frank Comito asserted that 69 percent of hotels report that they have not been receiving timely reimbursements from tour operators for services provided during the first quarter of 2020.
The average amount owed to hotels by tour operators is $219,000 per hotel, “with a number of hotels reporting outstanding amounts in excess of $1 million and one hotel being out-of-pocket $15 million,” Comito said.
He noted that the global crisis is threatening the survival of many Caribbean properties, particularly the small- and mid-sized independent properties, which are a staple element of tour operators’ business, the report in Caribbean Journal explains.
Acknowledging hotels had been advised to expect reimbursement to take an average of 60 additional days, and as long as 120 days, from certain tour operators who cited staff shortages, high demand, and reduced cash flow as primary reasons for delays, Comito pointed out that “these payments were made to the tour operator by consumers, often many months in advance and were to be held in trust for payment to hotels shortly after the delivery of the services.”
Comito requested the international tour operator associations help the regional association by “reaching out to your member operators who work with the Caribbean urging them to make every effort to expedite their obligation to reimburse Caribbean hotels for services which have been rendered.”
The CHTA chief said he understood the dilemma facing all in the travel industry, but he stressed “the reimbursement of funds which were collected from the consumer far in advance and are obligated should take priority.”