Nassau cruise port (File photo)

Caribbean tourism growth doubles global average – CTO

Nassau cruise port (File photo)

Approximately 17.1 million tourists made the trek to the Caribbean in the first six months of 2019, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).

A Sandals property in St Lucia (Photo: Sandals)

The figure represents an increase of just under 10 per cent, well above the global average of 4.4 per cent, said the CTO’s chairman Dominic Fedee at the World Travel Market conference in London, England today.

The visitor arrivals for the six-month period under review increased by 1.5 million over the similar period in 2018, Fedee said, explaining that increased interest from North American, particularly from the United States, was the primary reason. The number of Americans visiting the region increased by 20.2 per cent, for a record total of 8.9 million overnight international tourists. That same period also saw a 2.4 increase in Canadian visitor arrivals with 2.1 million making the trip.

1.5 million additional visitors came to the Caribbean in the first six months of the year.

Other contributing factors were the resilience of individual destinations which were able to “skillfully navigate global politician and economic concerns, including Brexit and the ongoing trade wars which threaten the stability of the global economy,” the CTO said.

“However, the European market was flat, registering a marginal 0.4 per cent increase to 2.9 million trips, with the UK market down by 1.7 per cent, mainly due to significant declines in Cuba, which fell by 22 per cent, and the Dominican Republic, down by 15.3 per cent.”

The popular Sandals resort in Barbados.

The increased traffic to the Caribbean was also assisted by growing air capacity to the region, expanded accommodations and positive positioning of the respective destinations, Fedee said.

Based on global issues such as Brexit and international trade wars, the CTO expects an increase of between five and seven per cent in stayover arrivals and four to five per cent in cruise passenger visits for the rest of the year.