Spurred on by a 24 per cent rise in arrivals from the United States, the Caribbean recorded a healthy 12 per cent increase in tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2019, according to statistics compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.
In updating the media on the region’s performance at a news conference this morning hosted at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel as part of Caribbean Week New York, Caribbean Tourism Organisation chairman Dominic Fedee revealed that between January and March this year there were 9.1 million international tourist trips to the region, up by 970,000 over the corresponding period last year.
The arrivals boom extended to the cruise sector as well, with a single quarter record 10.7 million cruise passengers visits, an increase of 9.9 per cent or 900,000 more arrivals when compared to the same period in 2018.
Due to its bullish economy, high consumer confidence and the strength of the US dollar against global currencies, the United States was the strongest performing market during the first quarter, with 4.5 million tourist visits, while Canada’s 1.5 million visits to the Caribbean represented a strong four per cent rise.
On the other hand, the performance of the European market was less encouraging, with arrivals up marginally by 0.6 per cent.
Of the 1.6 million tourist arrivals from Europe during the first quarter, 300,000 came from the United Kingdom (up 0.1 per cent), while arrivals from Germany fell by 8.1 per cent to 200,000 tourist visits.
The Caribbean (up 1.8 per cent) and Latin American (up 1.6 per cent) markets also recorded growth, although at a much slower pace that the major markets.
The overall healthy growth in both stayover and cruise visits, coupled with a 1.4 per cent rise in available airline seats during first quarter of 2019 - bringing to 12.4 million the number of international seats attracted to the region during the period - the CTO is bullish in its forecast for the year, predicting an eight per cent to nine per cent increase in tourist arrivals, along with 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent growth in cruise arrivals.