President and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Michael Bayley has forecast that the Caribbean cruise tourism industry will grow by 50 per cent come 2030.
Bayley, who addressed ministers, chief executives, policymakers and other senior Caribbean tourism professionals at a recent Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) outlook forum, also estimated that by then cruise tourism should contribute US$6 billion to the region’s gross domestic product.
“The Caribbean was, is, will always be the number one cruise destination in the world,” he said, noting that 80 per cent of the world’s leading cruise destinations are within the Caribbean.
“There are considerations that we need to take into account in terms of some of the destinations’ ability to absorb the growth that is coming … ”— Micheal Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International
A such, the cruise line operator urged the region’s stakeholders to prepare in advance for the increase in cruise passengers, as he also predicted that the Caribbean will continue to grow in popularity among cruise ship tourists.
“There are considerations that we need to take into account in terms of some of the destinations’ ability to absorb the growth that is coming — in some places the growth is perhaps already at a critical mass — but we need to find a way to accommodate the growth that is inevitably coming to cruise tourism in the Caribbean,” Bayley emphasised.
The CEO also used the opportunity to highlight RCI’s successful transformation of its private island destination experience in The Bahamas, known as Perfect Day® at CocoCay®, to the tune of US$250 million. He argued that the attraction is an example of collaboration between destination and cruise tourism and incorporates the benefits of both.
Perfect Day at CocoCay is a unique stop on what was once called Little Stirrup Cay. However, it is now a privately owned island destination by Royal Caribbean, and a tropical paradise for cruisers, offering a number of attractions, including a record-setting water slide — the tallest in the region — and a massive wave pool described by the cruise line as the largest freshwater pool in The Bahamas.
“There is a lot of demand for these products and if we can figure out how to collaborate together to create these experiences, they don’t always have to have this shape and form, they can be other types of experiences,” Bayley told the gathering.
“As we evolve in terms of our ship design and experiences and what we are creating for our customers, we really believe there is a huge opportunity to take all that knowledge…and transfer it into the destinations in a very meaningful way,” he added.
The Caribbean tourism outlook forum is a product of CTO which facilitates discussion between member governments and leaders from the tourism industry on generating business in the region.