By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Caribbean region is projecting strong tourism growth in 2019, regional tourism officials said this week.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization is forecasting arrival growth of between 6 and 7 percent this year, continuing what it said was an upward trend that began last September.
“We are projecting that tourist arrivals will increase by between six and seven per cent in 2019, as the damaged infrastructure in the hurricane-impacted destinations returns to capacity. Similarly, cruise arrivals should expand by a further four per cent to five per cent,” sad Ryan Skeete the CTO’s acting director of research.
Last year, 29.9 million people visited the Caribbean, the second-highest total on record after the 30.6 million who visited in 2017.
While that was a decline, it was better than the anticipated three to four percent falloff envisioned following the storms of 2017.
“Even the destinations that were severely impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, despite registering overall double-digit declines last year, experienced a significant turnaround during the last four months, registering triple-digit increases during this period,” Skeete said.
Canada was the strongest performing market, with a 5.7 percent increase in tourist visits to 3.9 million.
The United States accounted for 13.9 million visits, a 6.3 percent decline – although U.S. visits were up by 28 percent in the fourth quarter, reflecting the strong turnaround at the end of the year.