A resurgent cruise industry has lifted the Caribbean’s travel and tourism industry back to pre-recessionary levels, according to the latest statistics from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
St Lucia, which was voted “World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” at the 2010 World Travel Awards, registered a double-digit growth in international arrivals.
The region registered a 4.7 percent increase in visitor arrivals in 2010, with a total of 23.1 million tourists, up from 22.1 million in 2009.
Winfield Griffith, CTO’s director of research and information technology, said: “This figure takes us back to the peak arrivals levels we recorded in 2008.”
“Cruise tourism has also been on the rise, registering a six percent increase for 2010, while the hotel sector registered marginal increase with a one percent rise in occupancy and five per cent increase in total room revenues.”
CTO figures show that countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recorded a four percent year-on-year rise in 2010 due to a six percent rise in the sub-regional Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Among the OECS states, Anguilla and St. Lucia recorded double digit gains.
The Spanish-speaking Caribbean continued to experience strong growth in arrivals in excess of six per cent on average, the CTO statistics revealed.
“Indications are that the fortunes of Caribbean tourism are gradually changing for the better, but could take some time before experiencing robust, sustained growth,” Griffith said.