Guadeloupe 1

The view from Fort Napoleon, Les Saintes, Guadeloupe >Rosario Fajardo

Caribbean tourism brands, including destinations, organizations and businesses, must put people first in order to come out of the global Covid-19 pandemic stronger.

That’s the advice from Carla Santiago, the general manager of the Miami office of Edelman, a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations.

“It is critical that brands are able to sustain, remain and build their trust during this time. What is most critical that will impact brands in the short and long term is that brands are expected to put people ahead of profits during this pandemic,” Santiago said in a podcast series by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

Santiago made it clear that the welfare and well-being of both Caribbean tourism industry employees and potential visitors must be given top priority. She also stressed the need to give potential visitors the confidence that their entire experience is going to be safe by reforming all aspects of the tourism operation.

“You need to put yourself in those [travelers’] shoes. For example, when people arrive at a hotel, is there going to be a luggage disinfecting zone before that luggage gets carried throughout the entire property? Are people going to have to present a medical certificate? Can you do your entire check-in process with your mobile key card and not have to interact face to face as much?

“When you show up at a restaurant, have you built a handwashing station at the entrance of the restaurant and every single person has to wash their hands before they sit at the table? Can you provide wipes when they sit at the table and people have the confidence you have sanitized their space where they are going to enjoy their food? You need to think at that level of detail to provide safety and security for guests,” Santiago said.

More than 30 million visitors traveled to the Caribbean in 2019, according to the CTO. The top markets were the U.S. and Canada.

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