Published On: Tue, Nov 7th, 2017

Caribbean growth projection revised in wake of storms

Hurricanes Irma and Maria have seen the Caribbean revise its projected tourism growth down to just 1-2% for 2017.

Cruise shipsThe Caribbean Tourism Organization revealed latest figures at WTM that showed tourism to the region grew by 5.2% year-on-year in the six months to June 2017, outperforming the 2.5-3.5% growth that had been forecasted for the period.

But a reduction in airlift into the region in the aftermath of the two hurricanes have led the organisation to revise growth by year-end to just 1 or 2%.

Figures by OAG show flight frequency into the region in October dropped by 6.7%, while seat capacity contracted by 4.1%.

Islands which saw the biggest reductions in airlift were Puerto Rico, which lost 25% of its flights in that month, Dominica which lost 13.7%, St Maarten which lost 12% and the BVIs which lost 11.2%.

Dionisio D’Aguilar, chairman of the CTO’s council of ministers, warned of the economic impact that slower growth in tourism will have in the region.

“This is expected to have a significant economic impact, based on predictions by the Caribbean Development Bank. According to the CDB, every 1% of reduction in tourist arrivals could cost $137 million in lost revenue,” he said.

D’Aguilar said arrivals figures for September and October have still not been collated, but added it was pleasing to see that many cruise ships which had been unable to visit their intended ports of call were redeployed within the region, which benefitted other destinations.

Curaçao saw a 138% boost in its cruise passenger arrivals in September year-on-year, while Jamaica’s rose by 54%.

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