Contemporary tourist no longer relies on charm and beauty of the destination, but he relies more on professionalism, quality and value of tourism product. This requires new approaches toward tourism catering as well efficient elaboration of new valuable products. Caribbean hotels industry has always been one of the most developed in the country and in the world, but today it moves to a new development stage where quality and value are the main products to deliver.
The Caribbean Hotel Association, formed in 1962, has always played the key role in the development of the Caribbean hotels industry and influenced much on the growth of the entire spectrum of the Caribbean tourism industry. The members of CHA represent all ranges of hospitality industry's private sector, including over eight hundred member hotels with more than hundred and twenty six thousand hotel rooms in thirty five national hotel associations, as well as allied members such as airline executives, tour operators, travel agents, trade and consumer press, hotel and restaurant suppliers, and others.
Over the years, the Association has worked out a number of programs to move Caribbean hotels industry to a more competitive, professional, valuable and available aspect of Caribbean business market. Some programs, which the CHA has developed and brought into effect, are as follow.
The Caribbean Hotel Association has developed a database on regional accommodation, the Caribbean Gold Book. Today, the Caribbean Gold Book is the travel agents' most comprehensive reference source to the Caribbean hotels industry. In 2001, CHA acquired full ownership of Gold Book Publishing, publishers of Caribbean Gold Book.
Seven CHARMS, the Caribbean Hotel Association Reservations Management Systems, was created to provide CHA hotels with a global distribution. In 2000, CHARMS generated close to seven million dollars in business for its member hotels, at an average rate of hundred and thirty one dollars a night.
The Caribbean Hotel Foundation was created to provide scholarships and grants. The Caribbean Hospitality Training Institute (CHTI) was established for training and education. These and many other programs are all designed to help Caribbean hoteliers enhance the quality of their product and their competitiveness. High competitiveness among CHA member-hoteliers is also maintained through national and international competitions as well as through international partnerships and sponsorships.
In 2005, CHA honored the region's outstanding travel industry partners in Europe by presenting them with the "Crystal Palm Awards for Excellence," the highest awards presented in the United Kingdom and Europe by CHA. The recipients of these awards are Virgin Holidays, Best UK/European Tour Operator; Barbados, Best Caribbean Tourist Board; Coco Kreole - St Lucia, Best Caribbean Small Hotel; Sandy Lane - Barbados, Best Caribbean Large Hotel; Rendezvous Travel - UK, Best European Travel Agent, Amanda Wills, Outstanding Individual. Close interaction of each member of the Caribbean hotels industry, positive and healthy competitiveness, and international cooperation are major factors that lead the Caribbean hotels industry to its new value and quality for each traveler.