TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
NEW YORK — The Caribbean is experiencing an arrivals boom, with 9.1 million international tourist trips recorded between January and March this year.
This represents a healthy 12% increase in tourist arrivals during the first quarter, says the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which updated the media on the region’s performance during Caribbean Week New York earlier this month.
The arrivals boom extended to the cruise sector as well, with a record 10.7 million cruise passenger visits, an increase of 9.9% or 900,000 more cruise arrivals when compared to the same period in 2018.
This uptick was largely spurred by a 24% rise in arrivals from the United States, the Caribbean’s strongest performing market, which has been enjoying a high consumer confidence and a strong U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, Canada is also posting big numbers, with 1.5 million tourist visits that represent a 4% rise.
The overall healthy growth in both stayover and cruise visits can also be attributed to a 1.4% rise in available airline seats during Q1 2019, which brought the total number of international seats to the region to 12.4 million.
As such, the CTO is bullish in its forecast for the year, predicting an 8-9% increase in tourist arrivals, along with 5.5-6.5% growth in cruise arrivals.
“Overall, a statistical analysis of the first quarter gives us much to celebrate as substantial numbers indicate healthy economic conditions in key source markets and a strong resurgence of tourism in destinations impacted by the 2017 hurricanes,” said CTO chairman Dominic Fedee.