More Caribbean Destinations Looking to Regional Tourism Market
Above: Martinique, a strong source market for intra-regional tourism (CJ Photo)
By Alexander Britell
MIAMI — Caribbean tourism has long relied on three major markets: the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
But more and more, it’s hard to ignore the potential of intra-regional tourism — that is, tourists from within the Caribbean region traveling to neighbouring countries.
Indeed, it’s a far larger market than many may realize.
Last year, for example, there were a total of just under 1.6 million intra-Caribbean arrivals region-wide, itself a 2.1 percent improvement over the previous year, according to data provided to Caribbean Journal by the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
And some Caribbean destinations are already looking to tap into the market.
Indeed, this week, St Lucia announced the creation of a new drive called “Caribcation,” which launched region-wide on Monday.
“Tourism continues to experience encouraging growth and the Caribbean market has played its part in achieving those successes,” said Tracey Warner-Arnold, the country’s Deputy Director of Tourism.
The Caribbean market is the third-largest source market for St Lucia, according to Warner-Arnold.
“the Caribbean continues to hold its own, despite constraints facing intra-regional travel,” she said.
Last year, the Caribbean market accounted for 19 percent of the island’s market share, with another 22,000 stayover arrivals from the Caribbean so far in 2014, with the largest number from neighbouring Martinique, along with Barbados and Trinidad.
The Tourist Board said Caribcation would include a series of incentives and specials, including rates as low as $40 USD per night per room.
St Lucia’s initiative follows other recent high-profile regional tourism drives, most notably St Maarten, which launched a push to court tourists from the nearby Puerto Rican market in March.
Indeed, one of the region’s leading hotels, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, is currently offering significant discounts for residents of Caribbean countries.