Caribbean tourism is doing well, thanks to a combination of pent-up traveller demand, eased travel restrictions, flight availability and good deals. According to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), a tourism renaissance is well underway in the region, with some destinations approaching or exceeding record visitor arrival numbers.
“Today’s traveller has many choices when planning a Caribbean getaway, thanks to the efforts of so many. Over the past decade we’ve seen an explosion of new and upgraded hotels and infrastructure improvements. During the pandemic many hotels and attractions used the time to improve on their product and service offerings, also recognising the changing needs of the discerning traveller,” said CHTA President, Nicola Madden-Greig.
“We continue to offer accommodation experiences which appeal to the full range of traveller interests. Beyond our world-famous beaches and waters, travellers can experience our diverse cultural, culinary and historic treasures. And we’ve worked diligently to put in place health safety protocols which are effective and as nonintrusive as possible,” she added.
Madden-Greig noted that, on average, hotels and resorts in the Caribbean will approach close to 80 per cent of their record pre-pandemic performance this year, with some destinations setting all-time records. Cruise ships are returning, which is especially important to attractions, transportation providers such as independent taxis, and small- and medium-sized vendors. In addition, investment in new and upgraded hotels and resorts has not slowed.
“These are all great indicators which point to traveller confidence and demand for the Caribbean. We are seeing the fruits of years of hard work by the industry and governments throughout the region to invest in our tourism product and our people, and to broaden our appeal as we find new ways to provide a diverse and exciting experience for our visitors,” said Madden-Greig.
Last month the World Travel and Tourism Council, at its global summit in Manila, recognised the Caribbean and Latin America as leading the global tourism recovery.
Meanwhile ForwardKeys, CHTA’s data partner, recently reported that the Caribbean and Latin America are leading the summer outlook in terms of the return of leisure travel, noting that five destinations – Aruba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and The Bahamas – are among the “most resilient” based on confirmed arrivals for the summer.
Developer confidence is also evident in STR’s most current pipeline report, with close to 30,000 rooms in development or under construction over the next five years.
However Madden-Greig pointed to new challenges facing the industry, as inflation is resulting in higher operating and travel costs and the uncertainty in Eastern Europe impacts travel.
“While the cost of travel increases worldwide due to these and other factors, we will continue to focus on providing value and exceptional traveller experiences,” she said. “This is particularly important in our highly competitive global marketplace. Despite these challenges, we anticipate over the coming weeks and months to see a proliferation of deals and special offers by the industry to continue to appeal to travellers’ desire to come to the Caribbean.”