The Caribbean’s private sector has a unique opportunity to generate strong profits in the new year with the unprecedented quantity of airlift coming into the region.
Director general of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, Frank Comito, encouraged regional stakeholders to get ready for what the association believes can be an especially strong winter season.
“With new routes and upgraded aircraft announcements over recent months, market-savvy hoteliers are positioned to increase occupancy and generate additional business,” he said.
Comito, whose team is preparing to host the 37th annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace, said that while the 2017 storms affected year-over-year growth, with new, re-opening and upgraded hotels the region is poised for growth.
Destinations which were impacted by the 2017 hurricanes are seeing a return to pre-2017 flight levels while many other destinations in the region are seeing increased service.
“We are confident that hotels participating in marketplace this January in Jamaica will be in a great position to promote their properties, especially with the added airlift,” added Comito.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace is the Caribbean’s largest tourism marketing event, and will take place in Montego Bay, Jamaica from January 29th-31st.
The CHTA chief executive cited JetBlue Airways’ continued growth into the region with additional flights and upgraded Mint service starting in early 2019.
Delta Air Lines is bumping up its service to the Bahamas; Kingston, Jamaica; St. Kitts and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Similarly, American Airlines has added capacity to Aruba, Bahamas, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Turks & Caicos, and is increasing its service to Barbados, Curaçao, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and St. Lucia.
Copa Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, LATAM Airlines, Norwegian Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sunwing, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic are also extending their reach into the Caribbean.
Comito noted that regional carriers are also undergoing considerable expansion, and some are entering into new partner agreements, helping to improve connectivity, particularly to those destinations with fewer nonstop flights.
Examples include the rapid expansion of InterCaribbean Airways flights, now covering 22 cities in 13 countries; Caribbean Airlines with more than 600 weekly flights; LIAT, which is teaming up with Air Antilles and Winair; and Seaborne Airlines, which was recently acquired by Silver Airways.