The region registered its highest ever stayover and cruise arrivals numbers in 2019

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26Feb. 2020) – Sparked by robust recovery in the destinations that were affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Caribbean tourism rebounded soundly to post record stayover and cruise arrivals in 2019.

Stayover arrivals grew by 4.4 per cent to reach 31.5 million, outpacing the international rate of growth of 3.8 per cent reported by the World Tourism Organization, and the highest growth rate in the Americas.

At the same time, cruise visits increased by 3.4 per cent to 30.2 million, representing the seventh consecutive year of growth.

In presenting the Caribbean Tourism Performance Report for 2019 in an online presentation this morning, Neil Walters, the acting secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) said this record performance was triggered by steep rises – as high as 80 per cent in the case of St. Maarten – in the hurricane affected countries.

“Overall, the destinations most impacted by the hurricanes in 2017 saw some of the highest rates of growth,” Walters said.

In addition to St. Maarten, all the worst-affected destinations reported double-digit growth. Anguilla was up by 74.9 per cent, the British Virgin Islands increased by 57.3 per cent, Dominica rose by 51.7 per cent, the US Virgin Islands saw a38.1 per cent improvement and Puerto Rico increased by 31.2 per cent.

After two years of decline, the US was the best performing market in 2019, registering an increase of 10 per cent to reach a record 15.5 million visitors.

However, Canada, from which there was sustained growth in each of the last three years, was sluggish in 2019 at 0.4 per cent, equivalent to 3.4 million tourist visits, Walters revealed, who added that while arrivals from Europe were down, the intra-regional market was on the up.

“The European market dipped by 1.4 per cent from 5.9 million in 2018 to 5.8 million. The UK was down by 5.6 per cent to approximately 1.3 million visitors. On the other hand, intra-Caribbean travel increased by 7.4 per cent to reach 2.0 million, while the South American market declined by 10.4 per cent to 1.5 million,” the acting secretary general told the online audience.

However, Walters warned that while 2019 was a great year overall for Caribbean tourism, there are a few potential hurdles on the horizon – such as environmental, political and social uncertainty and the impact of climate change – that could impact its performance this year. These concerns notwithstanding, the CTO predicts growth of one to two per cent this year.

To view the presentation please click on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/CaribbeanTourismOrganization/videos/907374246366046/

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which is headquartered in Barbados, 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. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Among the benefits to its members the organisation provides specialised support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.

The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail: CTObarbados@caribtourism.com;

For more information on the Caribbean Tourism Organization, please visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn to be part of the conversation.