Future bright for tourism sector
BRIDGETOWN – The tourism sector in the Caribbean is expected to continue to grow.
That word has come from the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA’s) director general and chief executive officer Frank J Comito.
While admitting that the sector was facing some challenges, he said it was still poised to continue on a path of growth.
“This year has been a mixed bag. But our stopover arrivals are on pace to top a record 30 million in 2016. Twenty-one destinations out of 32 are up [increase in arrivals] for the year, and the CTO [Caribbean Tourism Organization] is projecting anywhere between a 4.5 per cent and six per cent increase in arrivals in 2016,” Comito said while attending the 18th Annual International Shared Ownership Investment Conference at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida last week.
Comito revealed that so far for the year, the Caribbean had welcomed 29 million stopover visitors, who spent US$30 billion — a 4.2 percent increase over the previous year.
“We had a great year last year, 2015. In fact, it was our best year, in terms of arrivals. We had 29 million stopover arrivals… it was our sixth consecutive year of growth. We saw upticks, for example, from Canada and the UK,” he said.
Comito gave several reasons for the upsurge in tourist arrivals last year. Among them were improvements in the global economy, fall in oil prices, additional airlifts and additional marketing focus.
And while he described the Caribbean as “one of the best places in the world to vacation,” he said up to July of this year, there was a 2.7 percent fall-off in occupancy at “traditional hotels.”