With a robust efficiency over the past 4 months of 2018, together with a strong exhibiting by nations impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, the proof means that Caribbean tourism is on the upswing.Having registered declines in the course of the first eight months of the yr, indicators of a rebound emerged in September when the area recorded a 3% rise. The numbers in October confirmed the restoration, with a wholesome 11.8% development, and by the top of the yr vacationer arrivals within the final 4 months had been up 9.8%.Even the locations that had been severely impacted by the 2017 hurricanes, regardless of registering general double-digit declines final yr, skilled a major turnaround over the past 4 months, registering triple-digit will increase throughout this era.
Total, the Caribbean acquired 29.9 million vacationer visits in 2018, the second highest on document, surpassed solely by the 30.6 million who visited in 2017.
Nonetheless, final yr’s arrivals numbers represented a 2.3% fall, a a lot better efficiency than the three% to 4% falloff we had anticipated. This was the primary decline in annual vacationer arrivals in 9 years, and with international development in worldwide journeys rising by 5.6%, the Caribbean market share of worldwide visits in 2018 shrank by 0.2 share factors, to 2.1% of the market.
Complete customer spending additionally declined barely by roughly 1% to US$38.Three billion, though vacationers spent barely extra per journey than they did in 2017 – US$1,177 per journey in comparison with US$1,171 in 2017. Among the many locations, vacationer arrivals confirmed uneven development. A number of nations reported double-digit will increase in 2018 akin to Guyana (15.9%), Belize (14.6%), the Cayman Islands (10.7%), The Bahamas (10.5%) and Grenada (10.0%), whereas the hurricane-impacted nations recorded double-digit declines.
The contributing elements to the superb performances within the nations not impacted by the hurricanes included sustained focused advertising, upgraded tourism infrastructure, extra rooms and enhanced airlift.
Concerning the most important Caribbean sub-regions, the U.S. Territories, the Group of Jap Caribbean States (OECS), and the Dutch Caribbean reported declines of 29%, 7.6% and seven%, respectively.
In distinction, the grouping dubbed “Different Caribbean,” comprised of Cancun, Cozumel, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Suriname, which accounts for nearly half of all arrivals to the area, recorded a rise of 1.8%, whereas the Caricom sub-region recorded a rise of 4.5%.
Market Traits
Whereas the US stays our largest market, it was Canada that outperformed all different markets final yr with 5.7% development or 3.9 million visits. This was as a result of its robust financial efficiency and elevated seat capability to the area.
Intra-regional journey had its greatest efficiency ever, reaching a document two million visits, representing a robust 5.3% rise. It was adopted carefully by South America, which produced 1.9 million visits, representing a 3.6% improve.
Arrivals from Europe improved modestly by an estimated 1.3%, partially reflecting the truth that extra UK vacationers had been switching to home holidays attributed to the persevering with Brexit negotiations, the associated uncertainties and a weaker pound. UK arrivals remained flat at an estimated 1.Three million.
However, the 13.9 million American vacationer visits final yr represented a 6.3% fall. This was due primarily to steep declines in arrivals to fashionable locations impacted by the hurricanes, akin to Puerto Rico, which was down by 45.6%, and St. Maarten, which fell by 79%.
Nonetheless, the rebound that we skilled in the course of the September to December interval final yr was fairly evident within the U.S. market, which noticed fourth quarter development of 28%.
Lodge Traits
According to the general lower in arrivals to the area, lodge occupancy fell by 0.Eight share factors, in keeping with STR Inc (previously Smith Journey Analysis), a U.S. firm that tracks provide and demand knowledge for the lodge trade. Nonetheless, the typical each day room charges elevated by 1.7% to US$207.61, whereas income per obtainable room grew by 0.6% to US$135.46.
Aviation Traits
Information from OAG, the main supplier of air journey knowledge, signifies that air capability within the area for 2018 decreased by 3.4%, whereas the variety of flights declined by 4.3%. Nonetheless, as with arrivals, there was a reversal of those numbers within the fourth quarter, with seat capability rising by 5.3%, whereas frequency grew by 5.2%.
Cruise Traits
The cruise sector had its greatest efficiency ever final yr, demonstrating a speedy restoration from the 2017 hurricanes. The variety of cruise passenger visits reached an estimated 28.9 million, up by 6.7%.
Cruise exercise was subdued within the first 4 months after which there was sustained month-over-month development as cruise ships returned to the ports and hubs which had been rebuilt after the hurricanes.
Outlook
The outlook for Caribbean tourism in 2019 is cautiously optimistic. International demand for worldwide journey is anticipated to stay robust, underpinned by wholesome financial exercise. International financial development is anticipated to proceed, although at a slower price, and oil costs are anticipated to stay much like 2018 costs. Moreover, improved air connectivity ought to assist to spice up arrivals.
After all, we should recognise that there are vital headwinds to navigate. These embody, however should not restricted, to the end result of the Brexit negotiations, the on-going commerce warfare between the US and China and potential excessive climate occasions within the locations and marketplaces.
Consequently, we’re projecting that vacationer arrivals will improve between 6% and seven% in 2019, because the broken infrastructure within the hurricane-impacted locations returns to capability. Equally, cruise arrivals ought to develop by an extra 4.0% to five.0%.

ContactTheresa M. OakesPhone: +1 (516) 594-4100Ship E mail

The Caribbean Tourism Group (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados, workplaces in New York and London and illustration in Canada, is the Caribbean’s tourism growth company comprising membership of the area’s best nations and territories together with Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking, in addition to a myriad of personal sector allied members. The CTO’s imaginative and prescient is to place the Caribbean as essentially the most fascinating, yr spherical, heat climate vacation spot, and its objective is Main Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.