First quarter performance exceeded seven per cent rise over corresponding period in 2015. Tourist arrivals to the Caribbean are expected to surpass the 30 million mark for the first time ever this year, following a record 28.7 million arrivals in 2015.Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Richard Sealy announced that the industry got off to a fast start in 2016, registering a 7.3 per cent rise in the first quarter over the corresponding period last year.
During this period, the Caribbean region welcomed approximately 8.5 million international visitors, 580,000 higher than the first quarter of 2015.
“This performance was buttressed by lower oil prices and the strong US dollar, which increased the appeal of the region to potential visitors. The many air service agreements ensured that the region had adequate seats to facilitate the flow of travellers to and within the region,” the CTO chairman explained.
Nineteen destinations showed improvements upon their 2015 performance, with eight registering double digit growth of between 10.5 per cent and 26.8 per cent.
The growth was led by intra-regional trips which rose by 12-9 per cent, followed by the European market which registered growth of 11 per cent.
The CTO chairman told media at a news conference at Caribbean Week New York that regional tourism officials have recognized that more needed to be done to keep visitors occupied while in the Caribbean.
“The CTO continues to work feverishly with our members to see how they can improve their product offering and diversify their markets,” he said.
The CTO has projected growth of between 4.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent in 2016.
Caribbean Week New York continues this evening with Rum and Rhythm, a benefit for the CTO Foundation, the regional tourism development agency’s scholarship programme which assists Caribbean nationals pursuing further studies in tourism and hospitality.
The Empire State Building will also light up in Caribbean colours tonight in observance of Caribbean Week New York, which celebrates the sights, sounds, colours, culture and unique holiday experiences of the Caribbean.
Caribbean Week New York is supported by American Express, Academy Engraving, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the Atrebor Group, the Islands of the Bahamas, Barbados, Bloomingdales, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman Islands, CitiTech Solutions, Dominica, El Dorado Rum, Empire State Building, Grace, Grenada, Golden Crust, Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet Resort, Jamaica, Marry Caribbean, Martinique, Nassau Paradise Island, Nevis, Proximo, Resonance, The Real McCoy Rum, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sugar Beach, Travel + Leisure, Resonance Consultancy; Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, Unique Vacations, Inc./Sandals and Williams-Sonoma.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish, 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 organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.
In addition the CTO, in partnership with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, jointly and equally owns the Caribbean Tourism Development Company, a marketing and business development entity dedicated to promoting the Caribbean brand worldwide.
CTO chairman Richard Sealy (right) addresses media during news conference at the Marriott Marquis in New York during Caribbean Week New York. Also in photo Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association president Karolin Troubetzkoy (left) and CTO secretary general Hugh Riley (centre).