Caribbean nations expect a rush of visitors

Several Caribbean destinations are looking forward to a bumper season for tourism as the region starts to emerge from the damaging effects of Covid.

Caribbean nations expect a rush of visitors

Several Caribbean destinations are looking forward to a bumper season for tourism as the region starts to emerge from the damaging effects of Covid.

Nearly all 16 Caribbean nations that presented their latest trends at key meetings in the Cayman islands reported a “stronger than expected” return of visitors, with numbers up around 80% on 2019 levels – a number that includes a generally dismal Covid-affected January and February this year, meaning he resurgence from March onwards has been particularly impressive.

Host nation Cayman Islands, whose Minister of Tourism Kenneth Bryan opened proceedings in The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman, said British Airways’ direct flight from London (with a brief stop in Bahamas) was helping to fuel tourism growth.

The Cayman Islands is comprised of three islands: Grand Cayman, known for beach resorts, scuba diving and snorkelling; Cayman Brac, with its amazing deep-sea fishing excursions; and. Little Cayman, with endangered iguanas, amazing wildlife, and seabirds including the red-footed boobies. Other key destination attractions include ‘Cayman Crystal Caves’, Botanic Park, St Pedro national historic site and Stingray City.

The British overseas territory of Anguilla is forecasting that the upcoming winter tourism season could be its best ever.

Speaking at the Destination Media Briefing in the Cayman Islands, Haydn Hughes, Anguilla’s Minister of Infrastructure, Communications, Utilities, Housing and Tourism, said pent-up demand for Anguilla continues to be strong, and feedback from travel advisors suggests that 2022’s performance will beat the 2019 record tourism performance.

“For many hotels, including those in Anguilla, their Average Daily Rates (ADR) have fully recovered and are up considerably over 2019 and 2021 levels,” said Minister Hughes.

Next year, Anguilla will break ground on construction of a new terminal building at the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport, part of a 20-year project with short-, medium- and long-term objectives.

The destination has seen growth in its American Airlines Miami service, which began operating twice weekly in December 2021, and has mushroomed to eight flights per week starting in November, with 11 weekly flights scheduled over the Christmas holiday period.

Anguilla also boasts the shortest international airline route in the world: the flight to/from St Maartens lasts all of six minutes.

Saint Lucia is also enjoying a rapid resurgence with UK visitor numbers for the three months from May-July outstripping those in 2019 and business from the UK is already approaching 2019 levels. 

Other indicators that Saint Lucia is fast recovering from the near shutdown of tourism caused by Covid include island restaurants seeing record numbers of patrons in July and the Saint Lucia Carnival in July attracting over 10,000 revellers, the most in the event’s history. 

Antigua and Barbuda’s steady tourism rebound continued this summer, as stayover tourism arrivals for July topped the July 2019 pre-pandemic record, a growth in arrivals of 7% for the month.

UK arrivals to the destination increased by 5% in July for the month over 2019, standing at 5,650 in comparison to the 5,378 in 2019. 

Antigua is more heavily reliant on tourism than most Caribbean nations: the sector represents 65-70% of its GDP.

Barbados describes itself as a “high-volume regional destination” and the UK is its number one market currently performing at around 80% of 2019 levels.

Kuoni has added Grenada to its Caribbean Collection featuring 2022/23 holidays.

The tri-island state’s hotel choices include a range of properties, from high-end luxury resorts to more authentic, off-the-beaten-track boutique stays including Spice Island Resort, Silversands, Mt Edgecombe and Petite Anse.

Known as the Spice Island of The Caribbean, Grenada relies on UK visitors to fill around 19% of its 2,574 available rooms. A magnet for divers, Grenada’s underwater sculptures are world renowned.

Tourism is the Caribbean’s main foreign exchange generator and contributor to Gross Domestic Product.

Around five million passengers annually visit the Caribbean contributing around US$50 billion in revenues. Some countries have little economic diversification beyond tourism: for example  the sector represents 65-70% of Antigua’s GDP.

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