JHTA AGM - CLIFTON READER - JHTA PRESIDENT

REMARKS BY CLIFTON READER,
PRESIDENT THE JAMAICA HOTEL & TOURIST ASSOCIATION (JHTA)
AT THE JHTA’S 59TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING & VIRTUAL MARKET UPDATE SEPTEMBER 19, 2020 SALUTATIONS…

PLEASE ALLOW ME TO START BY CONGRATULATING IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT, OMAR ROBINSON AND HIS TEAM OF COUNCILLORS FOR THEIR OUTSTANDING REPRESENTATION OF THE JAMAICA HOTEL & TOURIST ASSOCIATION (JHTA) AND THE TOURISM SECTOR IN GENERAL. I ALSO WISH TO THANK YOU ALL HERE PRESENT FOR THE CONFIDENCE AND TRUST PLACED IN ME AND MY TEAM TO ASSUME THE CHARGE FOR THE NEXT ADMINISTRATIVE YEAR.

THIS WILL BE NO EASY TASK, GIVEN THE EVER-EMERGING CHALLENGES - THE CONTINUED IMPACT OF COVID-19 AMONGST THEM. I ASSURE YOU WE ARE UP TO THE TASK AND WILL GIVE IT OUR ALL. IN THE COMING WEEKS THE COUNCILLORS AND I WILL BE FINE TUNING OUR PLANS FOR THE STRENGTHENING AND GROWTH OF THE JHTA AND ITS MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS. WE WILL NEED YOUR COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS AND SUPPORT.

COVID-19 CONTAINMENT IS TOP OF MIND AT THIS TIME. WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF THE RESPONSE OF OUR SECTOR IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROTOCOLS AND SANITIZATION REGIMES THAT HAVE SERVED TO PROTECT OUR STAFF, OUR GUESTS AND BY EXTENSION, OUR COMMUNITIES.

WE FEEL THAT WE CAN BE OF EVEN GREATER DIRECT SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITIES AND IT IS OUR INTENTION TO PARTNER WITH THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH & WELLNESS TO LEND THE EXPERTISE OF OUR TRAINED EMPLOYEES IN HELPING TO SENSITISE COMMUNITIES AND CRAFT A RECOVERY ROAD MAP THAT WILL BENEFIT ALL.

WORKING IN TANDEM WITH THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH, I AM PROPOSING THAT THE JHTA ACTS AS COVID-19 AMBASSADORS. WE WILL ORGANIZE MEMBERS OF OUR TEAMS WHO LIVE IN COMMUNITIES TO SHARE THEIR KNOWLEDGE. THE TRAINING DEPARTMENTS IN OUR HOTELS WILL HAVE VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS ORGANIZED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS, TO SHARE THE PROTOCOLS AND STRATEGIES THAT ARE SERVING US WELL IN THE TOURIST INDUSTRY.

WHILE COVID-19 RECOVERY PLANNING FOCUSES NOW ON THE LOGISTICS OF SANITIZATION, SAFE DISTANCING AND MASK WEARING, WE NEED TO ALSO LOOK AHEAD TO HOW WE CAN INCREASE BUSINESS SURVIVAL RATES.??

OUR INDUSTRY’S SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON OUR BEING READY TO SPRING FORWARD WITH CONCRETE PLANS, WELCOMING MESSAGES AND INTERESTING EXPERIENCES TO CAPTURE THE PUBLIC’S ATTENTION. AND SO, WE WILL BE EXPLORING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRODUCT AND MARKETING INNOVATIONS, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT NEW VISITOR MINDSETS.

SOME TRENDS HAVE ALREADY EMERGED DURING THE PANDEMIC INCLUDING A HEIGHTENED APPRECIATION OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK WHICH AUGURS WELL ESPECIALLY FOR OUR SMALLER ACCOMMODATIONS AND BUSINESSES.

THE LARGER PROPERTIES, INCLUDING EP AND ALL INCLUSIVES THANKFULLY, CAN CONTINUE TO CONNECT WITH THE NETWORK OF PAST VISITORS THAT ARE VIRTUAL AMBASSADORS FOR NEW AND POTENTIAL GUESTS.

WE WILL BE LOOKING TOWARDS NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND EXPERIENCES FOR OUR MARKETING MESSAGES THAT HELP KEEP OUR LIGHTS ON BUT ABOVE ALL, WE WILL BE WORKING TOGETHER TO ENSURE THAT JAMAICA IS SAFE TO LIVE AND VISIT.

COLLEAGUES, WE HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IS THE GLUE THAT HOLDS VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY TOGETHER.

NEVER BEFORE HAS IT BEEN MORE OBVIOUS, THAT WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER – HOTELS, AIRLINES, ATTRACTIONS, TOUR OPERATORS, MANUFACTURERS, AGRICULTURE, CRAFTSMEN AND ARTISANS AND OF COURSE, OUR DEDICATED AND COMMITTED EMPLOYEES. WE ARE ALL A PART OF WHAT MAKES FOR THE TRUE JAMAICA TRAVEL EXPERIENCE. WE KNOW THESE ARE DIFFICULT TIMES BUT AS YOUR NEW PRESIDENT, I GIVE YOU THE ASSURANCE THAT WE WILL BE BRINGING OUR BEST MINDS TOGETHER AND WILL BE WITH YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY AS WE RECOVER QUICKLY AND STRONGER. #TOURISMSTRONG!