Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Positive outlook for Caribbean tourism

European economies, from which much of this region’s tourism business is drawn, showed glimpses of recovery in 2013.

It was also revealed during the CTO State of the Industry Report 2014 that industrial production is moving up again and unemployment, while still relatively high in some places, is starting to decline.

This is according to Winfield Griffith, Director of Research and Information Technology at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).

“These positive signs only recently occurred and have not yet manifested themselves in greater benefits from that market. In fact, arrivals have declined for two consecutive years. However, the outlook is brightened by reports of proposed increased airlift prompted by more than usual forward bookings,” he indicated.

“The UK has been an important source mar-ket for a number of Caribbean countries, especially those of the Eastern Caribbean. Its continued sluggish economic growth coupled with significant Air Passenger Duty on travel to this region is seen as good reasons for the continued dampening of arrivals out of this market.”

As it relates to intra-regional travel, Mr. Griffith said that it has been picking up. He acknowledged that some Caribbean states, particularly in the Eastern Caribbean have also been heavily dependent on intra-regional travel.

“Air transport challenges notwithstanding, intra-regional travel saw further revival last year as the number travelling continues a slow upward climb (2%) to reach its highest recorded level,” he pointed out.

“The Caribbean has also started to benefit in a significant way from South American arrivals. Countries such as Aruba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Belize have all reported better business from this market. Direct flights from Brazil to destinations like Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago have boosted arrivals from this market.”

He also noted that there is good reason for heightened optimism when anticipating the performance of tourism in the Caribbean this year. However, he added that major challenges still exist making it harder for tourism growth to regain the momentum of the years prior to 2009 when the global meltdown started. (TL)

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