Caribbean continues to grow

As Caribbean nations correllate their arrival figures for 2003 there is a strong indication that things are returning back to normal.US tourists to Aruba increased by 6.32% to 460,241 in 2003 over 2002, breaking the pre-September 11 record of 452,211 visitors in 2000. Curacao«s stopover visitors from the US increased 2.8% in 2003, while St. Lucia«s visitors increased 9.3% last year over 2002, which included a 4.3% increase in U.S. arrivals.

In 2003, visitor arrivals in the U.S. Virgin Islands were up 2.4% to 2.3 million, which included 1.7 million cruise passengers.

For its part, Cuba announced that it closed the first month of 2004 with a 12.4 percent increase in tourist arrivals, as compared to the same period last year. A total of 214,242 visitors travelled to the island in January, surpassing the number of arrivals in the same month last year by 23,573, according to statistics by the Ministry of Tourism. In January 2000, 163,786 tourists had visited the Caribbean Island, 188,652 did it in the same month of 2001, and 140,792 in 2002.

Canada, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Spain and Mexico are still the island«s principal markets.