June 13, 2008
Peter Odle: Small hotels must survive

St Vincent and the Grenadines must not forget the well being of small hotels, even as it focuses on the development of its high-end tourism product.{{more}}

This is the advice coming from the president of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) Peter Odle.

Odle, a Barbadian hotelier who was visiting members of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Hotel Association last Tuesday June 10, told SEARCHLIGHT that if efforts are not made to protect small hoteliers, then it is going to be almost impossible for them to resist the temptation to sell off their properties to wealthy foreigners, who will then turn them into condominiums, which he sees as a problem plaguing the region.

“Once you start selling off the good properties, you going to have problems on your hands,” Odle said.

He called on governments to remove all the hindrances to the development of small properties, noting the need for a revisiting of the tax systems, duties and the like.

From a CHA level, Odle told the hoteliers and other tourism stakeholders gathered that the small hoteliers are the ones that really need the most help. He said that the larger hotels are mainly self-sufficient as regards their development and marketing and mainly need the CHA as it regards advocacy; making intervention with Governments and so on. He commented on the success of the small hotels retreat that was held in Barbados last year, the first held in many years, which he said was a great success, with some 190 small hotels represented from around the region.

Odle also used the opportunity to defend the CHA’s decision to close its Puerto Rico head office and relocate to Miami. He said that when all things were considered, the move made the most financial sense, and was part of an overall restructuring of the organization, to avoid financial loses and to create a more efficiently run organization.