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Caribbean's tourism growth rate more than doubles global average

Friday, November 08, 2019

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) on Wednesday revealed that tourist arrivals to the Caribbean increased by a solid 9.7 per cent during the first half of 2019 when compared to a similar period last year.

Addressing a World Travel Market media news conference, Dominic Fedee, chairman of CTO said that this performance was more than double the global average of 4.4 per cent.

A news release from the entity outlined that “between January and June 2019, there were 17.1 million tourist trips to the Caribbean, 1.5 million more than the corresponding period in 2018.

“The foundation of this performance was a strong United States market, which grew by 20.2 per cent, totalling a first-half record of 8.9 million overnight international tourists. During the same period, some 2.1 million Canadian tourists stayed in the region, a 2.4 per cent rise when compared to the same period last year.”

The strong results recorded in the first half is said to be reflective of the resilience of individual destinations and their demonstrated abilities to skillfully navigate global, political and economic concerns, including Brexit and the ongoing trade wars which threaten the stability of the global economy. Several factors also supported the gains made so far, including increased air capacity between the region and major sources, expansions in the accommodation sector and the positive positioning of the destinations' brands in the various source markets.

According to the news release, cruise tourism also added significantly to the increase in the Caribbean destinations tourism growth.

“As it relates to cruise, the demand for the Caribbean was so strong in the first six months of 2019, that there was a record 16.7 million cruise visits, 1.3 million more than in the same period of 2018. The present rate of growth estimated to be 8.1 per cent eclipsed that for similar periods in the last four years,” the report stated.

The CTO in looking forward to the rest of year have said that based on current trends and considering the various global issues including Brexit and trade wars, they are forecasting an increase of between five and seven per cent in stay-over arrivals and four to five per cent rise in cruise passenger visits.

The CTO headquartered in Barbados with offices in New York and London and representation in Canada, is the Caribbean's tourism development agency comprising membership of the region's finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. Their main mandate is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination for travels.