Increasing Visitor Spending – A Matter Of Choice

NEW YORK – Choice Hotels, one of the most successful lodging franchisors in the world, says it expects robust growth to produce greater economic benefits in the Caribbean.

Caroline Racine, Director of Caribbean Franchise Development for Choice Hotels, said by catering to travelers who don’t want to spend all of their discretionary income on lodging, “we are providing travelers to the Caribbean a mid-scale lodging experience, allowing them to focus their time and money enjoying what the islands have to offer,” said Racine, who was in New York last week to attend Counterpart International’s 2007 World Leadership Awards.

From left: Caroline Racine of Choice Hotels; World Leadership Award recipient Senator Allen Chastanet, St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation; Tony Bowen of Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa in St. Lucia; and Hugh Riley of the Caribbean Tourism Organization at last week’s World Leadership Awards.
Photo by Margot Jordan

The Haitian-American executive, who recently assumed responsibility for increasing brand awareness and distribution of Choice’s 10 brands throughout the Caribbean, reported strong business growth, especially in Puerto Rico where three additional properties are slated to open this year.

“Our main priority for the next six months is to continue to forge relationships with existing hoteliers and developers interested in our brand offering. Our momentum is strong and we will continue to aggressively grow our presence throughout the region as there is a need for select-service branded hotel options in the Caribbean,” she continued.

Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart International, congratulated Choice for not only selecting Racine, an accomplished Caribbean-American professional, to lead its regional charge, but also for the franchisor’s efforts to arrest the leakage of tourism revenues. “Tourism is the major driver of the Caribbean economy and they have made the right choice to develop an affordable product which allows visitors to revitalise towns and communities with their cash,” said LeLaulu, who describes tourism as “the largest voluntary transfer of cash from the rich to the poor – the ‘haves’ to the ‘have nots’ – in history.”

As the world marks World Tourism Day on September 27, which this year celebrates women’s achievements in the tourism sector and stimulates continuous action in support of the United Nations Third Millennium Development Goal: Promoting Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, he saluted Caroline Racine and the legions of women who are leading the Caribbean’s tourism charge.

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