By Frank Martin
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) predicted a 20 percent increase in tourist arrivals to the region this year, although that potential success is conditional on the possibility that the Covid-19 epidemic will be brought under control.
The entity analyzed factors for and against its prediction.
The CTO stated in its analysis that one of the obstacles over the forecast would be “a sharp drop in the number of people planning to travel abroad.”
Also the possible requirement by Caribbean authorities that their citizens be vaccinated before traveling abroad. ”
However, the crucial positive factor for this year’s tourism recovery lies in the immunization campaign.
The report, very cautious in its predictions, recalled that in 2020, government restrictions both in the Caribbean and globally, and in many cases, prevent travel for long periods of time.
This caused the Caribbean islands to suffer sharp drops in arrivals of land visitors and cruise ships.
Experts fear that this situation could recur as a result of virus outbreaks and dangerous viral mutations.
The analysis highlighted as “encouraging sign” the growing distribution of vaccines in North America, Europe and the Caribbean.
CTO reiterate that the recovery in 2021 will largely depend on the success of the market and regional authorities in the fight, containment and control of COVID-19 “.
The Caribbean is going through a very serious financial and economic crisis due to the global pandemic.
Tourist arrivals to CTO member countries fell to just over 11 million tourists in 2020 for a decrease of 65.5 percent.
This has been a stark contrast to the 32 million tourists record who traveled to the region in 2019.
Another positive angle contained in the CTO report ensures that Caribbean destinations faced the epidemic in 2020 better than the so-called global destinations with a global average drop in arrivals of 73.9 percent.
The specialized study attributes this relative success to the fact that from January to mid-March last year, Caribbean destinations reported acceptable average levels of tourist arrivals compared to 2019.
Tourist destinations in other latitudes of the world saw their peak summer season coincide with the time when international travel became very limited.
A CTO assessment that contradicts the forecast is that from early 2021 to date the regional visitors number has not reached levels even comparable to those experienced at the same 2020 lapse
Only Caribbean cruise Caribbean calls dropped 72 percent in 2020.