Archive for Caribbean Recovery

CTO reports promising outlook for the region in 2023

BARBADOS (March 7, 2023) – Despite global pressures such as high inflation, the war in Ukraine, the ensuing energy crisis, and an impending economic recession, the outlook for Caribbean travel and tourism is favorable, according to the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

CTO Chairman Kenneth Bryan (left) and Acting CTO Secretary General Neil Walters are pictured at March 7 press conference in Barbados.

Delivering the region’s 2022 “Tourism Performance and Outlook Report” in Bridgetown today, Neil Walters, Acting Secretary General of the CTO, confirmed that the Caribbean had one of the quickest recovery rates globally in 2022, with 28.3 million registered tourist visits in 2022. This represents 88.6 percent of the visitors who arrived in 2019, which served as the baseline year for typical tourism activity before the pandemic.

He reported that international travel is expected to contribute to the region’s substantial gains already registered thanks to the robust United States market, which continues to drive the region’s recovery.

There was an estimated 28.1 percent increase in visitors coming from the U.S. market in 2022. At the end of the year, 14.6 million American tourists visited the region, 3.2 million more than the 11.4 million in 2021.

Arrivals from the European market increased by 81 percent in 2022 when compared to 2021. The 5.2 million tourists from this market were almost double the 2.8 million in 2021. This represented 18.3 percent of all arrivals in 2022,

Due to travel restrictions in early 2022, the Canadian market has recovered more slowly at 60 percent, while the lack of availability of intra-regional airlift has negatively impacted regional connectivity.

“Nearly 90 percent of the region’s travel demand for 2019 has already been recovered,” reported Walters, with destinations such as Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos, and the U.S. Virgin Islands already surpassing their pre-pandemic levels.

Caribbean destinations can expect this recovery to continue into 2023, albeit at a slower rate, Walters explained, predicting that growth will be uneven among the destinations, with additional countries and territories exceeding their 2019 levels.

According to STR, the average daily rate at hotels increased by 21.7 percent to US$290.60 in 2022. The revenue per available room surged by 66.4 percent to $176.46, and the number of available rooms (up 4.4 percent) as well as room income (up 73.6 percent) increased. After two challenging years for the aviation industry, global air passenger traffic recovered significantly in 2022.

It is estimated that visitors to the Caribbean region spent between $36.5 and $37.5 billion in 2022, an increase of 70 to 75 percent compared to 2021.

It is expected that overall arrivals to the region will increase by between 10 and 15 percent when compared to 2022, with 31.2 to 32.6 million tourists visiting the region this year. The cruise industry is also anticipated to continue recovering and expanding to meet increasing demand, with 32 to 33 million cruise passenger visits expected – a five to 10 percent increase over the pre-COVID baseline figure.

Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, Kenneth Bryan, who also serves as the Cayman Islands’ Minister of Tourism and Transport, summarized that in the face of the devastating blows delivered by the pandemic, “as a region, we have responded with hope, strength and the determination to prevail.”

Minister Bryan reiterated that great strides have been made in Caribbean tourism, a clear indication that the sector is bouncing back, and hopes are high that the robust pace of recovery will continue into 2023 and beyond. “So although we have not yet surpassed 2019’s numbers across the board in every jurisdiction, the needle is certainly moving in the right direction,” he commented.

The chairman envisioned 2023 as a period of growth and development for the CTO, and he and his team were laser-focused on growing the membership, including countries, territories as well as allied partners. “It is also my intention to strengthen the relationships with other organizations, such as the United Nations World Travel Organization, the World Travel and Tourism Council, and even the Central American Tourism Promotion Agency (CATA), to foster greater collaboration,” said Minister Bryan. Consideration is being given to the restructuring of the organization and reforming its strategic vision and direction for the next five years, which includes the appointment of a new Secretary-General, he confirmed.

Minister Bryan announced the return of CTO’s Caribbean Week in New York, to be held in “The Big Apple,” from June 5 to 8 this year, and disclosed that his team was committed to addressing the nagging issue of air connectivity, a complex one that has been exacerbated by the reevaluation of airline business structures and the global pilot shortage. “It would be illogical for me to promise a solution to this issue during my tenure as chairman. But what I can and will commit to is getting the players around the table to forensically examine what we need to do as a unified region to improve this scenario and start the ball rolling towards the solution.”

Watch the recording at: https://fb.watch/j7J_VHXPCs/

Download full remarks delivered by Hon. Kenneth Bryan.

Download full remarks delivered by Neil Walters.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which is headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories, including Dutch-, English-, French- and Spanish-speaking, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm-weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean. Among the benefits to its members the organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution, and research & information technology.

The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; E-mail: CTObarbados@caribtourism.com.

For more information on the Caribbean Tourism Organization, please visit www.OneCaribbean.org and follow CTO on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn to be part of the conversation.

Posted in: 2023 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Corporate News

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CTO Guardedly Optimistic about Summer Travel

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (20 July, 2021) –  With the 2021 summer season under way, there is increasing evidence in the marketplace that pent-up demand is roaring back much earlier and at a much quicker pace than forecasters had predicted. At the same time, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is encouraged by the data from our member countries, who have worked tirelessly to contain the coronavirus and reopen their economies.

Although on the surface, a 60 per cent decline in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period last year, may not seem encouraging, a closer examination would suggest that the Caribbean is beginning to reverse the slide which began at the end of March 2020.

This is being demonstrated by a decrease in the levels of decline which the Caribbean has been recording for the past fifteen months. The first quarter of 2020 was the last period of regular levels of travel, when 7.3 million international overnight visitors (tourist arrivals) visited the region. In January and February 2021, arrivals to the region declined by just over  71 per cent when compared to the same two months last year. However, the 16.5 per cent drop in March 2021 compared to March 2020 is an indication of a level of reversal of the trend of declining numbers of tourist arrivals.

The data collected from twelve destinations reporting tourist arrivals for April 2021 shows that each of these destinations registered growth, when compared to April 2020, when tourism activity was curtailed globally. Similarly, tourist arrivals bounced back in the destinations reporting data for May. It must be pointed out, however, that the number of stay-over visitors is still below the corresponding levels in 2019.

Recent statements made by key aviation players for whom the Caribbean is an important market, have been encouraging. During our recent series of online discussions, both the CEO of British Airways, Sean Doyle, and the VP of sales for the Caribbean at American Airlines, Christine Valls, spoke of the high levels of interest in travel to the region. In fact, Ms. Valls indicated that the Caribbean has been booming for American Airlines, with an average 60 per cent load factor by late May 2021, and that the airline planned to have more daily flights to the region this summer than it did in 2019. American Airlines told the CTO this week that it added five new routes to the Caribbean this summer, with a sixth to be added in November – and will serve 35 destinations in the Caribbean.

Based on these indicators, the CTO is guardedly optimistic about the prospects for summer travel, and for the rest of the year into 2022.

It is recognised that any optimism must be tempered by the fact that new COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in both the UK and the US, two of the Caribbean’s major source markets. These are signs that the virus remains a major threat which can quickly reverse any progress we have made.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Caribbean Recovery, Corporate News

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