Caribbean ahead in post-Covid comeback 

Caribbean ahead in post-Covid comeback 

International worldwide arrivals are “back to pre-pandemic levels” it was revealed at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Barbados this week, with many regional destinations recording growth in overseas arrivals. 

According to recent data by travel analytics provider ForwardKeys, international worldwide arrivals to the Caribbean in the first four months of 2023 were exceeding 2019 levels, beating The Americas (-15%), Europe (-18%), Africa & Middle East (-1%) and Asia Pacific (-51%).  

However, recovery and growth is uneven with some destinations, including US Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic and Jamaica, outpacing others that are hampered by no direct airlift. 

Nicola Madden-Greig, President of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, did not shy away from the challenges that the region continues to face, noting that the pace of recovery is still threatened by rising operating costs, labor shortages, increasing airfares, global competition, economic uncertainty, and pressures from some governments to increase taxes. 

Data from Forward Keys indicated that the impact of rising inflation is being felt, with most visitors spending less in-destination or choosing a “cheaper” destination. A fifth have even cancelled or postponed travel plans due to fast-rising travel prices. 

However, Madden-Greig stressed that “the industry remains bullish about the future of tourism in the Caribbean” with cruising poised for the largest bounce back of any travel segment: it is predicted to grow by 61% in 2023.  

A key focus for the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) remains interconnectivity between islands. 

 “Our regional carriers need to engage in joint strategies to increase airlift and promote an aggressive strategy for multi-destination packaging working with international carriers,” said Madden-Greig.  

“Engaging destinations around special events, regional conferences and other large activations will help to ensure effective yields.” 

Meanwhile, Jamaica will host the 2024 version of Caribbean Travel Marketplace. A main focus of the event in Montego Bay will be sustainability and resilience, tourism investment and tourism trade. 

Jamaica last hosted the event five years ago. 

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