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Archive for 2019 News

Caribbean Tourism on the Upswing

~ CTO projects 6-7 per cent growth in 2019 following better-than-predicted performance last year ~

CTO’s director of research (ag) Ryan Skeete addresses this morning’s news conference

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (13 Feb. 2019) – The Caribbean tourism sector is projected to record strong growth in 2019 on the heels of a stronger-than-expected performance last year.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the authority on regional tourism statistics and performance, is forecasting 6-7 per cent growth this year, continuing an upward trend which began last September.

“We are projecting that tourist arrivals will increase by between six and seven per cent in 2019, as the damaged infrastructure in the hurricane-impacted destinations returns to capacity. Similarly, cruise arrivals should expand by a further four per cent to five per cent,” Ryan Skeete the CTO’s acting director of research revealed at the Caribbean Tourism Performance Review news conference at the CTO’s headquarters this morning.

Skeete did caution of possible “significant headwinds to navigate”, including the outcome of the Brexit negotiations in the UK, the on-going trade war between the United States and China and potential extreme weather events in the destinations and marketplaces.

Still, he said, with global demand for international travel expected to remain strong, underpinned by healthy economic activity, and with improved air connectivity helping to boost arrivals, the outlook for Caribbean tourism in 2019 was cautiously optimistic.

The CTO research director revealed that a robust 9.8 per cent growth during the September to December period last year, led to a stronger-than-projected performance. It was a significant turnaround from the previous eight months of decline.

“Even the destinations that were severely impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, despite registering overall double-digit declines last year, experienced a significant turnaround during the last four months, registering triple-digit increases during this period,” Skeete told the briefing, which was streamed ‘live’ to an international audience.

The 29.9 million tourist visits in 2018 represented the second highest number of visitors to the Caribbean on record, surpassed only by the 30.6 million who visited in 2017. And while this represented a 2.3 per cent decline overall, it was better that the anticipated three per cent to four per cent fall-off.

“With a strong performance during the last four months of 2018, including a robust showing by countries impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, the evidence suggests that Caribbean tourism is on the upswing,” Skeete declared.

According to information compiled from CTO member countries, Canada was the strongest performing market – its 3.9 million visits represented a 5.7 per cent rise. The intra-Caribbean market had its best performance ever, reaching two million visitors, while South America produced 1.9 million tourist visits, representing a 3.6 per cent increase. Arrivals from Europe grew by a modest 1.3 per cent, with UK arrivals remaining flat at an estimated 1.3 million.

However, the United States, which remains the region’s leading market, was down, with the 13.9 million American tourist visits representing a 6.3 per cent fall. This was due mainly to steep declines in arrivals to popular destinations impacted by the hurricanes, such as Puerto Rico, which was down by 45.6 per cent, and St. Maarten, which fell by 79 per cent.

This notwithstanding, there was a healthy 28 per cent rise in arrivals from the US in the fourth quarter, reflecting the strong turnaround during this period.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Strong 4th Quarter Performance Signals Tourism Recovery

Roseau, Dominica – (February 01, 2019) The months of October to December 2018 produced arrivals of 22,178 from all source markets, representing 35.3 % of total stay-over arrivals for the year which stood at 62, 828. This is an increase of 95% over the same period in 2017. Increases were registered at 91%, 113% and 78% respectively during the last three months of the year compared to 2017.

The quarter also represents a marginal increase of 0.9% over the same period in 2016. November 2018 was the first month to show an increase over the same month in 2016, with an increase of 15.6 % over November 2016. Arrivals amounted to 5,271 which is the highest arrivals for that month over the past 12 years of reported data, representing a record for the destination in that regard. December figures showed that the upswing continued, registering a 6.7 % increase over December 2016 arrivals.

The year-end figure of 62, 828 visitor arrivals, represents a 13% decline over 2017 figures of 72, 228. This performance surpassed the projections given for countries which had suffered a natural disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Maria during the previous year, as expected declines are normally in the vicinity of 30%. In addition, the 2018 numbers represent only a 20% decline over 2016 arrivals which is also of significance.

The focus of DDA’s marketing and product development efforts for the past year was to provide current information on available product and communicate pertinent updates to all relevant publics.

Timely updates on the destination’s positive recovery efforts and stories of optimism were communicated to all relevant publics, internal and external to Dominica. Vicky Chandler, DDA’s Destination Marketing Manager indicates “We embarked on an aggressive communications strategy which saw the development of a separate website specific to destination updates; awareness and discount campaigns and a concerted effort in our Press outreach globally, hosting media from all of our main source markets and communicating outward via social, digital and print media to potential consumers as well as to our travel trade network.”

The cruise season was modified as a result of the passage of Hurricane Maria resulting in an 88% decline in arrivals in the first 6 months of 2018 vs same period in 2017.   However, there was a major improvement in cruise arrivals during the last two (2) months of the year.  The destination also recorded Cruise visitor arrivals in July, August, & September for the first time in 5 years which contributed to a total of 134,469 arrivals in 2018, a 14.4%  decline over 2017 (154,040).”

Minister for Tourism and Culture, Hon. Robert Tonge opines, “These figures are the direct result of the cumulative efforts of Team Dominica in many different aspects of the destination’s recovery. The government’s investment in site rehabilitation and enhancements along with the celebratory season which started with the exciting WCMF in October, through to Reunion and the 40th Anniversary of Independence in November were key drivers of interest among our loyal Diaspora market and friends of Dominica. The recorded figures augur well for the future of the industry and the people of Dominica on the whole.”

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, see Dominica’s updates on the tourism sector post Hurricane Maria: www.dominicaupdate.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Destination News

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