CMC-Hoteliers in the twin-island state are reportedly losing millions of dollars as guests who were booked to arrive on the island; mainly from the UK and the US continue to cancel their vacation.
The Antigua and Barbuda Hotel and Tourism Association said many resorts across Antigua and Barbuda are seeing a trend of cancellations which has affected December occupancy and now, January and February booking trends.
Vernon Jeffers, Executive Chairman of the ABHTA said one hotel alone calculated losses of over two million dollars. He said if this trend continues, the country’s tourism sector could collapse.
“We are presently doing a survey with our membership but what I can tell you, just from feedback from hotels, losses are in the millions. One hotel, just coming out of the US alone, they are showing two million dollars’ worth of cancellation and one million coming from the UK alone,” Jeffers said.
Jeffers said the ABHTA is still awaiting final numbers, predicting that this trend will continue until Covid-19 cases are controlled in the key source markets of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
“These cancellations are being forced by potential visitors exhibiting some hesitancy for immediate travel and are opting to re-book for future dates,” he added.
Jeffers said while re-bookings is a positive sign and a glimmer of hope in this current environment, as it could translate to a strong performance in the summer months, “should we, however, continue to see the pace of cancellations, the performance in our traditional high season months, now through to April, will be negatively impacted”.
Based on the reported loss of bookings over the January to March period, cancellations are being seen from all source markets with the performance in the US market being the most negatively impacted.
“We will continue to keep an eye on the performance of our members, understanding very well that we are a long way from full recovery. The volatility of this period is all too evident as we continue to fluctuate being uncertainty and optimism,” Jeffers said.
Adding, “we cannot fully calculate the loss of the pause in flights from Air Canada which will be effective on January 31. Once all the bookings are cleared from their system, we will see some properties experiencing a drastic dip in projections,”.
At this time the ABHTA appeals to all hospitality partners that now more than ever, we must focus on following protocols.
“We are at a strong position in the sector where our vaccination rates are at or near 100 per cent in most businesses”.