Tourist arrivals to the Caribbean increased by a solid 9.7 per cent during the first half of 2019 when compared to the same period last year, according to new figures.
Addressing the media at a news conference at World Travel Market, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation chairman, Dominic Fedee, said the performance was more than double the global average of 4.4 per cent.
Between January and June this year, there were 17.1 million tourist trips to the Caribbean, 1.5 million more than the corresponding period in 2018.
The foundation of this performance was a strong United States market, which grew by 20 per cent, totalling a first half record of 8.9 million overnight international tourists.
During the same period, some 2.1 million Canadian tourists stayed in the region, a 2.4 per cent rise when compared to the same period last year.
However, the European market was flat, registering a marginal 0.4 per cent increase to 2.9 million trips, with the UK market down by 1.7 per cent, mainly due to significant declines in Cuba, which fell by 22 per cent, and the Dominican Republic, down by 15.3 per cent.
The strong results recorded in the first half reflect the resilience of individual destinations and demonstrate their ability to skilfully navigate global political and economic concerns, including Brexit and the ongoing trade wars which threaten the stability of the global economy.
Several factors supported the gains made so far including increased air capacity between the region and major sources, expansions in the accommodation sector and the positive positioning of the destinations’ brands in the various source markets.
As it relates to cruise, the demand for the Caribbean was so strong in the first six months of 2019, that there was a record 16.7 million cruise visits, 1.3 million more than in the same period of 2018.
The present rate of growth estimated to be 8.1 percent eclipsed that for similar periods in the last four years.