This Christmas Season has been described as unpredictable by owners of guest houses, villas and hotels in Tobago. This is because contrary to what was initially suggested, occupancy levels are said to be low compared to previous years.
This was confirmed by Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association president Chris James yesterday.
“Hotels are 22 per cent for December, guest houses are 21 per cent, villas and self-catering are 30 per cent and just to clarify that there is a period from Boxing Day for five days where villas and self-care go up to 74 per cent,” he said yesterday.
James said it was difficult to project figures for January, since guests were opting to book closer to their arrival to avoid any mishaps
“I can’t give you January figures because what’s happening, people are booking very late… they are basically booking today for tomorrow,” he said.
James said compared to years prior to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, December holidays were the busiest. In fact, he said the last two weeks of December and the first weeks of January are the busiest months
“With the borders closed we don’t have the international guests and so these figures are good, they are better than we have had because we have been empty all these months. So this better than we have had recently but it’s not great, but we are glad and grateful for the business.”
He also said tourism stakeholders are said to have been properly trained to manage the COVID-19 pandemic at their establishments. James said many training sessions were held with the Caribbean Tourism and Hotel Association, as well as CARPHA.
One such facility is the Mt Irvine Bay Hotel, where managing Director Jacqueline Yorke-Westcott said have extensive COVID-19 protocols that go beyond the wearing of masks and sanitising. She said staff have been trained to manage any situation. She boasted that all staff use gloves and PPE, there is regular sanitisation of counters and tables using UV light, while the hotel is moving towards contactless transactions.