The Dominican Republic (DR) Ministry of Tourism welcomed over four million visitors in 2010, a new record for the DR and a 3.3 percent increase over 2009. Meanwhile Jamaica Tourist Board reported an 11 percent increase in UK visitors for November 2010 compared to the previous year.
BA revealed that the Caribbean featured heavily in its top ten destinations for 2011, with St Kitts & Nevis, Puerto Rico, and St Lucia amongst most popular destination choices for travellers.
A host of brand new resorts, spas and new flight routes are opening up to accommodate this surge in visitors.
According to the World Tourism Organization, the Caribbean is more dependent on travel and tourism than almost any other region. Of the 10 countries in the world most dependent on tourism, 7 are in the Caribbean.
BTN has compiled a round up of some of the exciting developments in and around the Caribbean.
New hotels and resorts
Work has begun on the $3.4 billion Baha Mar, the largest resort development in the history of the Caribbean, which is slated to open in late 2014.
Located on Nassau’s Cable Beach, the development will boast a roster of names in luxury hospitality including Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Morgans Hotel Group, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, and a Casino Hotel, creating a total of 2,250 new rooms.
Although aimed primarily at the North American market, which makes up the vast majority of tourist visitors to the Bahamas, the facilities are also expected to attract a global clientele, including emerging markets such as Brazil and China.
It is also estimated that Baha Mar will contribute an additional 10 percent growth in the Bahamian GDP, and almost $1 billion to the local economy in its first year in operation. It will employ an estimated 8,000 staff.
Baha Mar’s Chairman and CEO, Sarkis Izmirlian, commented: “Baha Mar represents the birth of a new generation of destination resorts that will compete on a world scale.” Visit http://www.bahamar.com
Coco Reef owner John Jefferis is planning a new five star resort in Panama which will be located on a private island. In a recent interview Jefferis told BTN that 2011 would be even more challenging than 2010 as customers look for bigger discounts on their holidays. He revealed that Coco Reef have increased their marketing budget for 2011 and plan to do more joint promotions with tour operators. Visit http://www.cocoreef.com
Casa de Campo in Dominican Republic is targeting golfers with the introduction of the Jim McClean Golf School. Visit http://www.casadecampo.com
The five-star Buccament Bay in St Vincent and the Grenadines is the ultimate amusement resort for families and couples, boasting a Liverpool FC soccer school and a Pat Cash Tennis Academy, as well as an Island Sanctuary Spa and a Diving and watersports Centre. Visit http://www.harlequinhotelsandresorts.com
The newly refurbished Renaissance St Croix Carambola Beach Resort and Spa in the US Virgin Islands has a private beach, spa facilities and plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Visit http://www.marriot.com
Five-star boutique hotel, Eden Roc Luxury Beach Resort and Spa in the Dominican Republic is set to be popular with those opting for a luxurious Caribbean break. It opens in October 2011, and features 37 spa-villas, each with their own swimming pool. Visit http://www.edenroccapcana.com
Five new villas are opening in Nonsuch Bay, Antigua and they are thought to be among the most affordable in the Caribbean. The resort boasts three infinity pools and the nearby Green Island Reef Marine Reserve makes it perfect for sailing enthusiasts. http://www.nonsuchbayresort.com
Located beside the El Yunque National Rainforest, The St Regis Bahia Resort in Puerto Rico offers an exotic escape complete with a golf, course, luxury spa and legendary butler service. Visit http://www.starwoodhotels.com
On the heels of its 30th anniversary, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) is reinvigorating its product with multi-million dollar development projects at its Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort, Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa resort and Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club in Jamaica. Updates are part of a larger enhancement program throughout the Sandals Resorts International portfolio. Visit http://www.sandals.com
Set in lush tropical gardens, Goldeneye resort is where Ian Flemming wrote all 13 of his Bond novels. With 11 new luxury cottages, six new lagoon sites and a private beach, Goldeneye offers an idyllic setting for some privacy. Visit http://www.goldeneye.com
The extensively renovated Fairmont Royal Pavilion has benefited from its makeover of upgraded rooms and new junior suites with full butler room service. Visit http://www.fairmont.com/royalpavillion
The Jewel Dunn’s River Resort in Jamaica is a newly furbished luxury all-inclusive resort, featuring a concierge service as well as romantic poolside movies and candlelit dining on the pier. Visit http://www.jeweldunnsriverresort.com
New Flights: Carriers plan new routes to the Caribbean
From 27 March 2011, BA will be increasing its flights to the Caribbean, as well as launching a new service from London to Puerto Rico on the 28 March 2011. This will boost BA flights to the Caribbean to 63 a week across 15 destinations.
Meanwhile Trinidad & Tobago-based carrier Caribbean Airlines has won approval from the United States Department of Transport for the launch of new routes linking Jamaica to America. The decision allows Caribbean Airlines to operate flights from Jamaica directly to the United States in Caribbean Airlines aircraft.
Meanwhile Continental Airlines has inaugurated non-stop flights between its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (PLS). The flights are now operating as a daily service.
The Caribbean destination will also become JetBlue’s 39th destination, with a daily service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and weekly Saturday service out of Boston’s Logan International Airport commencing to Providenciales last month.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is preparing to offer an additional 2,600 seats each week to the Caribbean. The expansion will start when KLM’s winter schedule goes into effect on 30 October 2011.
New Ferry Travel: A new ferry service to connect the Caribbean
A new daily ferry service that will connect Barbados, Saint Lucia, Trinidad, Grenada, and St Vincent is currently being developed by BEDY Ocean Line. Visit http://www.bedytravel.com
New cruise port at Falmouth, Jamaica
A new port terminal has been built on Jamaica’s North Coast in Falmouth, which is now open. The port has shops, restaurants and a residential area where fly-cruise visitors can spend time before or after their cruise. Visit http://www.visitjamaica.com
Destination News: Pinewood Studios to open Caribbean branch
Pinewood Studios is set to open a new film and TV studios in the Dominican Republic, called Pinewood Indomina Studios. The new studio will comprise of a 5,000 square metres of sound stage space, along with 15,000 square metres of production support facilities.
World Travel Awards comes to the Caribbean
The 2011 Caribbean & Americas World Travel Awards ceremony will be held this year in Montego Bay on May 11th. Visit World Travel Awards
With the Caribbean going from strength to strength, City.Mobi has recently launched Jamaica.City.Mobi – this definitive guide provides you need to know about this incredible destination, from entertainment info to booking hotels and airport transfers.