Barbados, Friday February 15, 2013 – The tourism industry in the Caribbean is
showing signs of recovery with the sector recording a 5.4 per cent increase
last year as compared to 2011, a senior Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO)
official has said.
chairman Beverly Nicholson-Doty said that the state of the industry gives
“reason to be optimistic” and that “all the signs suggest Caribbean tourism is
said visitor arrivals to the Caribbean especially from the North American market
had increased and hotel revenues were moving “in the right direction, albeit
with moderate acceleration.
all our major markets, Canadian arrivals showed the greatest buoyancy
throughout the challenges of the recessionary period. In fact, arrivals from
Canada have continued to move upward over the past five years. Arrivals went up
by 5.9 per cent in this market in 2012. There was also no evidence of falling
average visitor spending on the part of the Canadians.”
were also spending more during their stay in the region. Figure show an
estimated US$27.5 billion was spent by visitors to the Caribbean last year, a
3.6 per cent increase over the previous year and the third successive year of
said this marks a return of aggregate spending by visitors to the pre-recession
region as a whole has regained ground lost in the heat of the global economic
depression in 2008/2009. Last year, the Caribbean welcomed nearly 25 million
tourists, that’s 5.4 per cent more than in 2011 and the largest number of stay-over
visitors in five years. This rate of growth outpaced the rest of the world
which saw arrivals increase by four per cent.”
Nicholson-Doty, who is also the United States Virgin islands Commissioner,
noted that amidst these positive signs “is the stark reality that some of our
member countries are still hard pressed to recover, particularly those that
rely heavily on the British market”.
blamed an ailing British economy and the “onerous Air Passenger Duty (APD)”
that London first instituted in 1994 as an environmental tax aimed at
offsetting aviation's carbon footprint.
governments have been lobbying London to remove the tax, which they said
negatively affect the growth of the tourism industry since the Caribbean has
been placed in a band that makes travel to the region much more expensive than
travelling from London to the United States.
said that as a result of the increase, a family of four flying from the UK to
the Caribbean would have to pay close to £400 (US$625.08) in taxes. In 2005
such a family would have paid a total of £80 (US$125.06) in taxes.
said in addition, cruise tourism has been “flat region-wide” for each of the
last three years and that intra-regional shifting of cruise schedules resulted
in fairly significant increases in the northern Caribbean activity offset by
reductions in that of the south.
region’s performance in 2012 must be seen in context of the wider global
situation. Debilitating effects of the world economic crisis which led to
caution and austerity on the part of governments and consumers alike, still
have manifested themselves in lower personal discretionary income and lower
aggregate visitor spending.
the major advanced economies weak growth, high unemployment, financial sector
fragility and fiscal austerity are still major concerns which dampened economic
performance in 2012 and the outlook for 2013.
global economy is still pressured in the aftermath of the crisis of 2008-2009.
However, international tourism proved resilient in 2012. The World Tourism
Organization, the UNWTO, reported that over one billion international tourists
travelled the world by the end of the year- 36 million more than in 2011,” she
released here show that tourism within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
countries is bouncing back, but has not kept pace with the wider region.
the CARICOM countries recorded a modest 1.9 per cent rise for the year and
Nicholson-Doty said this was influenced by a 0.4 per cent decline in the
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) struggling with falling British
and intra-regional travel.
the other hand, the group of Dutch Caribbean countries recovered moderately
well in 2012, performing slightly above the wider Caribbean.
grouping recorded a 5.6 per cent increase over 2011 due to rising activity in
all the reporting countries.
described the performance of the Spanish speaking Caribbean as buoyant, noting
“this group sustained the positive growth in arrivals experience over the last
five years, recording a six per cent increase last year.
Caribbean region was the chief contributor to this multi-year performance,
having climbed by double digits in 2010, thereby regaining much of the ground
lost in the wake of swine flu a year earlier,” she added.
the future outlook for the region’s tourism industry, Nicholson-Doty said it is
clear that the US and Canadian markets are carrying the sway and are expected
to continue to perform well in terms of arrivals in 2013 as airlines continue
to manage airlift and airfares in consonance with variable consumer demand.
are still expected to hold a tight purse in light of continued uncertainty in
their home economies and globally. UK travel to the region as a whole is
expected to improve marginally at best, although as customary some countries,
especially in the Eastern Caribbean, will benefit more than others from this market.”
she warned that in a bid to stay afloat, hotels and other tourism service
providers in the Caribbean will need to maintain the most attractive offers to
further boost their rising levels of occupancy and general profitability in
light of continued consumer austerity.
any international or regional unforeseen economic or social trauma in 2013, the
indicators of Caribbean tourism performance should continue to move in a
positive direction. Visitor traffic to the region is expected to increase by
another four per cent to five per cent in 2013,” Nicholson-Doty added.(CMC)
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