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Caribbean nations record increase in tourists during first six months of 2016

Several destinations in the Caribbean have welcomed an increase in overnight visitor arrivals during the first half of 2016. According to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, many nations received double-digit increases between January and June, including lesser-known tourist destinations in the region such as Belize, Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada.

Caribbean nations record increase in tourists during first six months of 2016

The Caribbean has received an increase in overnight visitors from North America during the first half of 2016, according to new data released by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).

Many destinations in the region recorded a double-digit increase in arrivals during this period. The study revealed results from 27 countries in the Caribbean, and many lesser-known nations in the region saw positive growth in tourist numbers from the United States. These included Grenada with a 26.2 per cent increase, Belize with 25.5 per cent, Antigua & Barbuda 20.3 with per cent, Barbados with 13.1 per cent, and Bermuda with 10.6 per cent.

While the number of tourists from the United States was on the up, visitor numbers from Canada were not so strong, with just eight out of 24 CTO countries reporting a year-on-year increase in arrivals. During their first six months, Curacao (6.7 per cent) and Guyana (4.7 per cent) were the only two nations to that saw a significant increase in holidaymakers from Canada.

Obie Wilchcombe, the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, and the Tourism Minister for the Bahamas, commented :

“I think it is imperative for us to focus on the fact that this has not been a bad year for the Caribbean thus far. The challenges have come from Canada, and I think we are all aware of the circumstances and the troubling economy in Canada. But by in large we have seen tremendous growth.”

Mr. Wilchcombe also added:

“We’ve seen growth in our airlift and we’ve seen growth in cruise. We’ve seen our airlift increase by 15.7 million seats this year so far, which is significant for all of us.”

Cruise arrivals in some countries also increased, with the Dominican Republic recording a 58.4 per cent year-on-year rise, and the British Virgin Islands seeing an increase of 48.4 per cent. The rise in cruise passengers was helped by the addition of new cruise facilities at ports in both of the nations. In the Dominican Republic, the $85 million Amber Cove port in Puerto Plata opened in October, 2015, and in the British Virgin Islands, the cruise pier’s $52 million expansion project was completed by the end of 2015.

The Caribbean is a region that heavily relies on international tourism for its economy. While many international holidaymakers continue to flock to the tropical island nations for sun, sea and a slice of paradise, the travel and tourism industry in the area is reporting lower occupancy and average daily room rates across many hotels.

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