By Frank Martin
TTC Service. – The president of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Dominic Fedee, reported that between January and March of this year there were 9.1 million international tourist trips to the region, an increase of 970,000 compared to the corresponding period last year.
Great news for the region.
The cruise sector topped the bonanza by registering 10.7 million passenger visits, an increase of 9.9%, or 900,000 more arrivals compared to the same period in 2018.
The United States was the market with the best performance during the first quarter, with 4.5 million tourist visits followed by Canada with 1.5 million visits from Canada.
CTO said in a statement that the Caribbean thus achieved a four percent increase in arrivals.
The Canadians were in those arrivals about one in six tourists
Europe however had an increase in arrivals only marginal, according to specialists.
The statistics indicate that there were 1.6 million arrivals of European tourists to the Caribbean islands during the first quarter of 2019.
Of this figure, 300,000 came from the United Kingdom (0.1 percent), while Germany as a tourism source market for the Caribbean fell by 8.1 percent to 200,000 tourist visits.
Latin America grew by 1.6% in the previous year but it was a slow growth also according to experts.
The CTO is optimistic in its forecast for the year. Now it expects to achieve an increase of 8% to 9% in tourist arrivals, along with a 5.5% increase to 6.5% in cruise arrivals.
Fedee attributed the success in the first half of this year to the return of tourists after destructive hurricanes in the region.
He added that the reconstruction work on some of the islands was expert and efficient. ”
For example, Puerto Rico, devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, experienced a growth of 62.3%, according to the figures presented by Fedee.
He added that in 2019 there will be more coordination throughout the islands of the Caribbean in terms of marketing initiatives
“You will see a big push from the Caribbean to ensure that we activate our marketing initiatives in a more uniform manner,” he said.
“We believe we are in a better position to do so together than to do so alone” he said.