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TTC Special: Caribbean ready do “rejuvenate” tourists after the hurricanes

TTC Special: Caribbean ready do "rejuvenate" tourists after the hurricanes

Wellness and rejuvenation are important aspects of the Caribbean tourism product offering. Photo: alexandralexey/123RF

By F. Martin

TTC Service.- After a season of very powerful hurricanes that caused serious damage to some Caribbean islands, the region is ready to “rejuvenate”.

That is the objective of The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) that has declared 2018 the Year of Wellness and Rejuvenation in the region.

According to CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley wellness and rejuvenation are important aspects of the Caribbean tourism product offering. The CTO “is encouraging member countries and private sector partners to plan and organize events and activities around the theme that will appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators” Riley said.

“For those who focus on renewing body and spirit, the options are virtually endless; from beachfront workouts and yoga retreats, to wellness resorts and spa treatments, the notion of being rejuvenated in the Caribbean is one more reason to let us pamper you in 2018,” the secretary general added.

“The region’s diverse tropical landscape with mountain ranges, valleys and volcanoes, provide excellent opportunities for a variety of ages and physical abilities. Individual trekking, group hiking, health walks, fun-runs, marathons and a range of water-based health-related activities are held throughout the year in our CTO member-countries”, Riley explained.

The theme for next year is part of the programme for Caribbean Week Canada 2017. The global wellness sector is a $3.72 trillion industry, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a Miami, Florida-based non-profit-making organization that provides global research and insight into the wellness industry.

The Year of Wellness and Rejuvenation will be promoted through social media and traditional media channels and will create opportunities for travelers and holiday planners to share their experiences and ideas of how to welcome visitors to the region for wellness and rejuvenation.

The Canadian market was a strong performer during the first half of 2017, with arrivals up by 6.4 percent over the corresponding period last year, and is expected to continue to register growth this year despite the hurricanes which impacted about 25 percent of CTO member countries.

According to experts the program is part of the Caribbean message that the region, or most of it, is open for business following September’s hurricanes.

Caribbean Tourism Organization’s chairman Dionisio D’Aguilar said at the World Travel Market in London last week that “some countries were absolutely devastated by the hurricanes, but 75% of the Caribbean was largely unaffected, which means that “we will have to spend millions of dollars on marketing to say that 75% of us are not devastated.”

Caribbean visitor numbers had been on track for a record year, growing at a healthy pace of 5.2% year over year between January and June. More than 16.6 million international tourist arrivals were recorded in that six-month period, well ahead of the forecast growth rate of 2.5% to 3.5%.

D’Aguilar said that the most serious damage caused by the hurricanes occurred in Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Island, Dominica, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten/Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The situation understandably triggered an overall slowdown in visitors.

“The best way to help the Caribbean is to travel to the Caribbean”, called D’Aguilar’s in London.