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The Caribbean shows Recovery from Recession with New Hotels and Attractions

Tourists planning Caribbean holidays will have more hotels, resorts and attractions to choose from as the region bounces back from the recession. Visitors can take advantage of special all inclusive promotions and holiday reductions over the coming months

The Caribbean shows Recovery from Recession with New Hotels and Attractions

The Caribbean is seeing a rise in international tourists following a few turbulent years brought on by the global recession, increased APD, and seasonal hurricanes.

The tropical region has been fighting back despite the series of adverse events and travellers are once again being enticed to take Caribbean holidays as hotels and resorts offer huge discounts and promotions.

President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Josef Forstmayr, is optimistic about the future of the region and said: “The world may go to hell in a handbasket, but [tourists] still go to the Caribbean. We expect a good winter season.”

He added that one incentive drawing tourists planning holidays to the Caribbean this autumn and winter season is the fact that room rates for Caribbean hotels and resorts are still considerably lower than rates in 2008, before the recession started.

There are some fantastic deals out there,” Forstmayr explained. "Some all-inclusives are posting deals with rates up to 65 percent off.”

Hugh Riley, the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, commented: “While we had a record number of arrivals in 2010 — 23 million — our members have had to do significant discounting.

“Yes, that’s good for the consumer, and we’re happy they’re here. But it’s very clear we can’t lose $10 on every passenger and keep it up.”

Several all inclusive resorts are seeing an increase in visitors taking Caribbean holidays with many tourists choosing Caribbean packages covering lodging, food, beverages, leisure activities and entertainment.

“Last year was a record year for us, and so were the first four months of 2011,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, founder of Sandals Resorts. The company operates 20 luxury properties across the Caribbean providing all inclusive St Lucia, Antigua, Bahamas and Jamaica holidays for families, couples and groups of friends.

New properties are popping up in the Dominican Republic including the 1,800-room Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana which opened its doors in January, 2011; the Salamander Marina and Beach Resort at Cap Cana which is scheduled to open its Fishing Lodge Cap Cana on 1st October, 2011 with 302 Mediterranean-style villas; and Barcelo Bavaro which is due to open a 234-room “golf section” property in Punta Cana in November to serve alongside its newest golf course.

Perhaps the largest Caribbean project currently underway is the huge Baha Mar project on Cable Beach in Nassau, Bahamas. The $3.4 billion complex is said to be the largest single-phase resort development in the Caribbean and is scheduled to open in 2014. The 1,000-acre complex will feature six resorts, a casino and an entertainment and dining complex.

The one area that continues to struggle is the price of Caribbean flights as the rising cost of oil forces up the price of airplane fuel, leading to the rise in airfares.

“It’s our greatest challenge,” Forstmayr said.

New attractions have been introduced to attract travellers taking holidays in the Caribbean including St. Lucia’s first casino, Treasure Bay Casino, a teen club at Atlantis Paradise Island, a mini-submarine in Curaçao, and an automotive museum on Grand Cayman.

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