The Caribbean Hotel Association put into place in March an emergency preparedness plan on behalf of its member hotels. "From the experience of the Gulf War and the aftermath of September 11, 2001, a drop in demand is to be expected," Dominican hotelier Simon B. Suarez, president of CHA, said in a press release. "On one hand, the industry as a whole must be well prepared to weather a difficult period--whose severity will be determined by how protracted or swift is the conflict. On the other hand, it is those that respond proactively with targeted strategies that will have the edge."

CHA is encouraging its member hotels to protect guests who have to cancel, or who find themselves stranded in the Caribbean. It is also developing a public relations contingency plan to minimize the negative impact on the region by emphasizing its safety, climate, and proximity to the United States (although, as we report from AIME, in "First Up," above, no country can be considered safe). And CHA has created a members-only section of its Web site to serve as a forum for information exchange, a critical link that many suppliers clamored for after 9/11. There's no better time to share best practices and experiences, even small successes, than during desperate days.