Remarks by Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Chair of CTO Council of Ministers and Comissioners of Tourism and Minister of Tourism and Transport, Cayman Islands.
I extend a warm welcome to all who have tuned in and thank you for taking the time to join us and covering this media conference.
I am very pleased to be in Barbados. While I have visited previously, this is my first time visiting the Caribbean Tourism Organisations headquarters in my capacity as the new Chairman of the organisation.
It has been extremely beneficial having this opportunity to meet with the staff and tour the office, and I am very happy to see the wealth of information that is here on each of the member countries. It underscores the tremendous amount of quantitative and qualitative research and data that has been compiled over the years, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government of Barbados for making the provision for the CTO to be housed here in this jurisdiction over many decades.
With tourism playing such a critical role in the Caribbean region it is important that our people have the opportunity to keep abreast of the latest news and developments. I therefore appreciate your support and assistance in helping to raise awareness of these results through your various media channels and publications.
Moving swiftly on to today’s business, the purpose of this press conference is to present the Caribbean regions tourism performance for 2022, following which I will provide a brief update on the way forward and some of the changes and activities you can expect to see in 2023 and beyond.
So without further ado, I will ask the Acting Secretary General to take us through the 2022 tourism industry results.
Remarks by Mr. Neil Walters, Secretary General, CTO (Acting)
The performance of Caribbean tourism in 2022 is examined in this presentation. The Caribbean here includes the countries and destinations in the conventional geographical region as well as Belize, Guyana, Suriname and the Mexican Caribbean (Cancun and Cozumel).
Tourism in the year 2022 was characterized by strong recovery. According to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) approximately 917.0 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022. This level of arrivals was doubled that of 2021 and represented 62.6% of pre-pandemic levels.
All world regions recorded significant improvements on their 2021 performances but still trailed against 2019.
In our New Year’s message, we would have given the first indication of the strong recovery experienced in the regional tourism sector during 2022. Today, we can confirm that in 2022, the second full year of the global pandemic, the Caribbean tourism industry was resilient and built on the rebound that was noticeable from the middle of 2021. By the end of 2022, there were 28.3 million registered tourist visits in the Caribbean, approximately 52.4% more than there were in 2021. The region accounted for 3.1% of all arrivals worldwide, down one percentage point from the historically high share of 4.1% recorded in 2021.
The 28.3 million registered tourist visits in 2022 made up 88.6% of the visitors who arrived in 2019, which served as the baseline year for typical tourism activity before the pandemic. Thus, the Caribbean was one of the regions with the quickest recovery rates globally in 2022.
International travel restrictions that were further relaxed as well as strong demand in the US, the region’s top source market for inbound travel, bolstered the recovery. Strategic marketing initiatives and the restoration of some of the airlift capacity between more markets and the Caribbean also contributed to the positive results.
However, the industry’s recovery and growth were undermined throughout the year by the negative effects, including rising prices and intermittent supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, labour shortages and disputes, global inflation, and heightened geopolitical tension.
View recording of event on CTO’s Facebook page at: Caribbean Tourism Organization | Facebook