Caribbean hotels demand UK operators pay upfront after being left owed millions

Sunday, 16 Jul, 2020 0


Some of the top luxury hotels in the Caribbean could insist that UK tour operators pay for rooms upfront after being left with millions of dollars of unpaid bills during the lockdown.

They say they’re no longer willing to offer credit to tour operators as some – including TUI, Virgin Holidays and Dnata Travel Group in the UK – have yet to pay for guests who stayed during the first quarter of the year, before the pandemic.

The debt could force some hotels to close, according to Frank Comito, CEO of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).

"They [the tour operators] have had the cash in hand but they have opted not to reimburse that cash. We find that a really unfortunate practice," he said during an interview with TravelMole’s Graham McKenzie.

"We think the region has been incredibly loyal to tour operators and they really should be looking out for them."

He claimed some tour operators owed millions to hoteliers in the Caribbean and said that their refusal to pay was ‘causing tremendous hardship’.

Speaking after the interview, Frank said Barbados hotels were leading the way in making pre-payment a condition of future contracts.

While other destinations are keen to follow their lead, Frank said: "This can only be done if there is sufficient scale, along the lines of what Barbados has done where most of the hotels are on board."

He said some of the CHTA’s 1,000 member hotels are close to reaching an ‘arrangement’ with TUI, the biggest UK tour operator with outstanding debt.

In April, Frank revealed that TUI was trying to tie the payment of its bills for the first-quarter to ‘more onerous’ terms and conditions for future contracts, prompting him to write to the operator’s UK MD Andrew Flintham with a request for the company to pay up.

TravelMole understands that the Barbados government has since suggested it will refuse financial support to hotels that offer cedit to tour operators.

A dnata Travel Group spokesperson said in statement to TravelMole: "We regret the points raised in this report and any hardship experienced by dnata Travel Group’s valued suppliers across the Caribbean following the recent unavoidable disruption to our operations and agreements.

"We have resumed normal payment schedules and can assure them that we’re working hard to get through the backlog as quickly as volumes allow.

"We want to thank them for their support for all of our brands, and their continued patience during this exceptional period. We’re committed to maintaining an open dialogue with them, the CHTA and other regional authorities, to develop collaborative solutions for how we work together in the future."

TUI and Virgin have been approached for comment but did not respond at time of publication.


By Linsey McNeill, Editor (UK)




Related News Stories :   Radisson signs first Radisson RED Thailand hotel     Marriott approved for City Express hotels acquisition     Capella Sydney hotel officially opens     Fastpayhotels appoints Northern Europe business development director     Hyatt adding Caribbean resorts     Tribute Portfolio opens first Seychelles hotel  


Linsey McNeill

Editor Linsey McNeill has been writing about travel for more than three decades. Bylines include The Times, Telegraph, Observer, Guardian and Which? plus the South China Morning Post. She also shares insider tips on

Most Read

Sarah Doyle from Visit Phoenix

Michelle and Jalyssa of Visit Mesa

Alison Cryer, MBE of Representation Plus

Tracy Vaughan, SVP Global Trade Development at Visit Lauderdale

Marc Anderson CEO of Visit San Antonio speaks to Graham McKenzie in London about his city and IPW23

Graham McKenzie talks to Visit Florida’s CEO Dana Young at #huddle23

At #huddle23 in West Palm Beach we speak to Lauren Pace of Visit Florida

Jane Cunningham, Director of European Engagement Destinations International

Fred Bean, Founder and CEO of Hotelport

Kent Anderson of Kirk Mountain Adventures

The essence of Atlantic Canada

Elliot Ferguson of Destination DC

Interesting, Relevant, and Quick Read Content for Busy Travel Professionals

Price Based Country test mode enabled for testing United States (US). You should do tests on private browsing mode. Browse in private with Firefox, Chrome and Safari