By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Caribbean reported record tourist arrivals in 2014, according to a new report from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
The region welcomed an estimated 26.3 million tourists last year, a 5.3 percent increase over the previous year.
“Last year, we received more visitors than ever before – recording our fifth straight year of growth as a Region,” said Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism in Barbados and current CTO Chairman. “There was strong demand throughout 2014 and I am particularly pleased with our performance during the summer period when our growth rate was almost twice that of the summer of 2013.”
The increase represented a total of 1.3 million more visitors than in 2013, which was also a record for arrivals.
“With a strong year for air travel, a positive performance by the accommodation sector, solid growth in cruise visits and faster-than-expected rise in stay-over arrivals, the Caribbean Tourism Organization is pleased to report that the state of Caribbean tourism is sound,” said Caribbean Tourism Organization Secretary General Hugh Riley.
The US remains the region’s largest source market, with a total of 13 million people visiting the Caribbean last year.
“There’s no doubt that political and economic conditions, increased airline seat capacity, improved airport facilities, increased room stock – as recognized hotel chains established themselves in our destinations – and new initiatives in the marketplace, all contributed to this success,” Riley said.