For the first time since the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) began keeping records, the Caribbean outperformed every major tourism region in the world in setting new arrival and spend records in 2015, while exceeding expectations, reported Caribbean360.com
According to the online news agency, international tourist trips to the region grew by seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent growth. Visitors spent an estimated US$30 billion, a 4.2 per cent rise over the US$28.8 billion spent in 2014.
“So 2015 was the second year in a row that the region has done better than the rest of the world, and the sixth consecutive year of growth for the Caribbean,” the CTO’s Secretary General Hugh Riley revealed yesterday in announcing the record performance at a news conference at CTO headquarters, streamed live to a global audience that spanned the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe and as far as Asia.
Riley attributed the growth to improved global economic conditions in the marketplace; a boost in consumer confidence, particularly in the United States; falling oil prices; rising seat capacity and persistent marketing by CTO member countries and their partners.
The CTO reported growth in all the major markets – the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and South America – with the intra-regional market performing better than it has ever done before.
“Despite concerns about the cost of travel within the region, the intra-Caribbean travel recorded its best performance since we started keeping records. In 2015, traffic from the Caribbean market accounted for six per cent of total arrivals into the region, with 1.7 million visits among the various states, an increase of 11.4 per cent over the previous year,” the CTO secretary general said.
The CTO Secretary General also announced growth in the cruise sector, although at a slower rate of 1.3 per cent, with 24.4 million cruises in Caribbean waters.
He said the outlook for 2016 was positive with tourist arrivals expected to increase by 4.5 to 5.5 per cent, while cruise is estimated to record one to two per cent growth, as summer redeployment of ships continues.