Cancellations and a slow pace of bookings affecting the hospitality sector

Many resorts across Antigua and Barbuda are seeing a trend of cancellations which has affected December occupancy and now, January and February booking trends.  This trend, the Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association predicts, 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.  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.

Vernon Jeffers, Executive Chairman of the ABHTA noted that “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.  Should cancellations continue at this pace, we will see the effects trickling down to employees in the sector where reduced work weeks and rotations will have to be employed. This a fear we do not want to see realized.”  

Mr. Jeffers further went on to address the issue of Air Canada Vacations “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.  The ABHTA will very soon be monitoring these results and present its projections for travel this first quarter.”

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% in most businesses. This result, along with following the core protocols will keep our employees and their families safe therefore positioning our industry to remain open and ready.  We cannot control the external factors in other markets, but we can continue to showcase our destination as Sun, Sea and Safe and the destination of choice for the potential traveler.

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