NEW YORK — After an uncharacteristically weak performance in 2016, the number of Canadians travelling to the Caribbean has bounced back in 2017 to post the highest growth rate of 4.8% in the first quarter.
Arrivals from Europe were also up, by 2.9%, while the U.S. market posted a 1.3% increase, said CTO Chairman, Dionisio D’Aguilar.
Addressing the press at a Caribbean Week news conference in New York this week, D’Aguilar said the Caribbean received 8.7 million international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2017, a 1.8% increase from Q1 last year.
And in the first three months cruise passenger arrivals increased by 4.5% compared to the same period last year.
It wasn’t all good news however. Data compiled by STR Global Ltd (STR) for the first quarter shows that the Caribbean hotel industry continues to struggle. “While the number of available rooms increased by 1.1%, room revenue, average daily rates and revenue per available rooms all fell,” said D’Aguilar.
Several Caribbean islands have signed agreements with Airbnb, in an attempt to find common ground with the hotel industry disruptor. The latest, Grenada, signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbnb this week.
The CTO is also working on a joint collaboration with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) with an eye to a new public-private sector tourism marketing and development initiative. The CTO is also looking at setting out a process for allowing countries “outside the traditional Caribbean region, but washed by the Caribbean Sea”, to join the CTO.