Dominican Republic is suffering less from tourism slowdown than many Caribbean countries

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Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Caribbean Tourism Report Q4 2009” report to their offering.

The Caribbean Tourism Report provides industry professionals and strategists,

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Caribbean Tourism Report Q4 2009” report to their offering.

The Caribbean Tourism Report provides industry professionals and strategists,
corporate analysts, tourism associations, government departments and regulatory
bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the
Caribbean’s tourism industry.

2009 Arrivals Continue To Suffer The Caribbean is continuing to suffer heavily
from the downturn in the global tourist industry. Of the 21 countries reporting
2009 figures, only three experienced an increase in tourist arrivals. These
were: Cuba, with arrivals growth of 2.0% year-on-year; Jamaica, with 0.2%
growth; and Saba, with 1.4% growth. Even such growth rates are well below those
traditionally enjoyed by the region of 8-10%. Moreover, some countries reported
major drops in tourist arrivals. The worst affected were Anguilla (-21.4%), the
British Virgin Islands (-25.1%), St Maarten (-16.1%) and the Bahamas (-15.3%).

The Caribbean is suffering particularly heavily from the downturn because it has
historically been one of the more expensive tourist destinations and therefore
is marketed more towards high-end and luxury travellers. With incomes suffering
globally, tourists appear to be choosing cheaper and closer holiday destinations
at the expense of the Caribbean. Also, much of the Caribbean’s tourism has been
concentrated in the cruise industry, which is suffering in line with other
luxury travel options. With Q209 arrivals appearing to continue the downward
trend, we remain negative on prospects for Caribbean arrivals in 2009,
especially given the start of the hurricane season in August.

Focus On The Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic is suffering less than
many other Caribbean countries from the tourist slowdown. In the first four
months of 2009 arrivals fell by 4.8% year-on-year (y-o-y), making it the fifth
best performing country in the region.

The country is weathering the downturn better than some of its neighbours for
several reasons. For one, it possesses a highly developed tourist
infrastructure, with substantial developments along the beachfront and a good
balance between charter holiday and high-end resorts. Its long coastline gives
it an abundance of locations, while the capital, Santo Domingo, provides a good
base for travellers wishing to explore more of the country. Unlike some other
Caribbean destinations, the Dominican Republic benefits from a varied landscape,
with tourists able to explore the beaches and the mountainous interior. These
factors should help it to mitigate the effects of the 2009 downturn and position
it for a recovery into 2010.

Eastern Caribbean Ferry Service Opens With regional incomes suffering during the
economic downturn, regional flights are beginning to appear too expensive. To
counter this, countries in the Eastern Caribbean are to open a new ferry service
in October 2009. Grenada-based company BEDY Ocean Line will launch operations
serving Barbados, St Lucia, Trinidad, Grenada and St Vincent. One ferry will be
based in St Vincent and serve St Lucia and Barbados, while the other will be
based in Grenada and serve Trinidad and Barbados.

With prices ranging between US$120 and US$140, the ferry service offers a cheap
alternative to flights in the region and should be popular with locals and
tourists. Currently, the only Caribbean ferries operating are between Florida
and the Bahamas, and between Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands.
The launch of the ferry service will be negative for regional airline Liat,
which is already struggling to maintain revenue in an environment of declining
passenger demand and an ongoing pay dispute with workers.