A matter of resilience

A matter of resilience

The Aurora Anguilla Resort and Golf Club recently (see Wednesday paper) announced its year-round opening, while most hotels there traditionally close in September and October. Reasons not to do so include continued momentum since opening in December 2021, as well as increased flight options from the US and the end of COVID-test result requirements for vaccinated passengers.
One can add to that still pent-up travel demand due to the pandemic, which has changed the tourism panorama and on which St. Maarten’s “Save the Summer” Expedia campaign is also partially based. The Dutch side is not known for shutting down at the height of the hurricane season, but several businesses across the open border are.
Perhaps they should rethink this strategy, because “the new normal” brings different trends in the way people go about a lot of things including vacationing abroad. Weather patterns are changing significantly in some of the destination’s main source markets too and that could affect the timing of holidays.
Besides, although there is much talk of the island’s one-pillar tourism economy and a need to diversify, another major problem often gets overlooked: Seasonality. The dominant hospitality industry to a large extent only makes real money during part of the year and in many cases depends on reserves created then to survive the slower months.
This means considerable seasonal employment with all its social consequences. Maintaining a high-level workforce also becomes difficult under such circumstances.
A serious effort should be made to attract more visitors for the so-called low season periods. This ought to involve targeting other regions such as South America where it’s winter in that period to achieve a better “spread” of bookings in the future.
It’s a matter of resilience.

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