Spurred on by a 24 percent rise in arrivals from the United States, the Caribbean recorded a healthy 12 percent increase in tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2019, according to statistics compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
In updating the media on the region’s performance at a news conference this morning hosted at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel as part of Caribbean Week New York, CTO chairman Dominic Fedee revealed that between January and March this year there were 9.1 million international tourist trips to the region, up by 970,000 over the corresponding period last year.
The arrivals boom extended to the cruise sector as well, with a single quarter record 10.7 million cruise passengers visits, an increase of 9.9 percent or 900,000 more arrivals when compared to the same period in 2018.
Due to its bullish economy, high consumer confidence and the strength of the U.S. dollar against global currencies , the United States was the strongest performinig market during the first quarter, with 4.5 million tourist visits, while Canada’s 1.5 million visits to the Caribbean represented a strong four per cent rise.
On the other hand, the performance of the European market was less encouraging, with arrivals up marginally by 0.6 percent. Of the 1.6 million tourist arrivals from Europe during the first quarter, 300,000 came from the United Kingdom (up 0.1 percent), while arrivals from Germany fell by 8.1 percent to 200,000 tourist visits. The Caribbean (up 1.8 percent) and Latin American (up 1.6 percent) markets also recorded growth, although at a much slower pace that the major markets.
The overall healthy growth in both stayover and cruise visits, coupled with a 1.4 percent rise in available airline seats durng first quarter of 2019 – bringing to 12.4 million the number of international seats attracted to the region during the period – the CTO is bullish in its forecast for the year, predicting an eight per cent to nine per cent increase in tourist arrivals, along with 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent growth in cruise arrivals.