Wednesday, 12 February 2014

CTO: Look to South America

The Caribbean is being encouraged to look into exploring and exploiting the South American market more, by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).

This view was proposed by the Director of Research and Information Technology, CTO, Winfield Griffith, as he dissected the numbers at the press briefing in USVI on Monday.

Griffith said, “When we examine tourism globally, new markets with lots of potential for the Caribbean are clearly emerging from among the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). In particular, Brazilians have started to show interest in the Caribbean. [...] Indeed, now seems to be the right time to pursue the South American market with full vigour.”

Hence, he disclosed, “IADB (Inter-American Development Bank) has recognised the enormous potential for engaging this new market and has asked CTO to facilitate the process of communicating information relating to IADB funding and technical assistance to Caribbean countries.”

In her report, Chairman of the CTO, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, gave the figures which supported Griffith’s appeal for more of a focus to be placed on the South American market by the Caribbean, since it shows promise.

Nicholson-Doty admitted that the economic challenges being faced in the key markets such as the United States, Canada and Europe are impacting the growth within the regional tourism industry, but she explained from the figures that the situation in South America seems different, as the region is seeing an influx of arrivals being recorded from there still.

She said, “The 1.8 per cent rise is an indication that the momentum experienced over the previous two years has slowed, due mainly to the relatively weak economic conditions in the key markets. However, while the main source markets are sputtering, tourists from South America are flocking to the region in large numbers.”

And though she disclosed that, “Mixed performance among the destinations resulted in [that] one-point-eight per cent rise in tourist arrivals, a lot slower than the 4.9 per cent rise in 2012.”

She reported that “still the Caribbean welcomed over 25 million stay-over visitors last year, up from 24.6 million in 2012”.

Of which she stated, “The total number of arrivals from that [South American] region climbed from an estimated 859 000 in 2009 to nearly 1.5 million last year. That’s 13 per cent higher than 2012 and a whopping 70 per cent over 2009.”

And she affirmed, “This is due to the strong economies in South America, particularly Brazil and Venezuela.” (KG)

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