More than half of the member countries of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) reported increases in tourism arrivals for the first six months of 2002, compared with the same period in 2001.
However, the reports also indicated that the major markets - the United States, Canada and Europe - produced a “mixed bag,” with hardly any of the destinations registering across-the-board increases from the three major markets.
“The fact that our reports reflect an increase in tourism to some of our destinations even in the current environment, is an indication of the travel industry’s resilience,” said Hugh Riley, CTO’s Director of Marketing for the Americas.
“CTO is cautiously optimistic that the coming months will show an even greater increase in tourist arrivals as a result of enhanced air service and higher levels of hospitality throughout the region,” he added.
Curacao enjoyed an overall increase of almost seven percent in the first five months of the year, compared to a similar period last year, while Guyana saw an increase of over 23 percent in the same period.
Grenada, reported an overall increase of 2.5 percent in the first five months of 2002, but boasted a 16.5 percent rise in visitor arrival figures from the United States. Barbados has also experienced growth with a 4.4 percent increase from the U.S.
A 31 percent rise in arrivals from the United States and a 66.3 jump in the number of Canadian visitors helped Montserrat offset an 11.1 percent drop in visitor arrivals from Europe. The number of Canadian visitors to St. Vincent and the Grenadines was also up (15.4%).
Meanwhile, the U.S. Virgin Islands is on course to surpass last year’s total number of arrivals by about 200,000. In the first three months of 2002, the USVI welcomed 197,942 - roughly one third of all arrivals for 2001.