Caribbean Tourism Flourishes in 2023, Poised for Continued Growth

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Caribbean Tourism Flourishes in 2023, Poised for Continued Growth 2

The Caribbean tourism sector showcased notable growth in 2023, marking a 14.3% increase in international visitors, as announced by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). This growth aligns with CTO’s predictions and reflects a resilient demand for travel from the United States, the region’s primary market, along with improvements in tourism infrastructure, strategic marketing, and increased flight options. Notably, the Caribbean slightly outpaced its pre-pandemic visitor numbers, with a modest 0.8% increase, showcasing a stronger recovery compared to many global regions.

In a detailed review in Bridgetown, Dona Regis-Prosper, CTO’s Secretary-General, highlighted that about 32.2 million tourists visited the Caribbean in 2023, each month surpassing the previous year’s numbers, thereby maintaining a growth trend for the past 33 months. Several destinations, including Anguilla, Aruba, and the Dominican Republic, among others, surpassed their 2019 arrival figures, with some setting new annual records.

The United States market fully recovered, contributing an estimated 16.3 million visitors, setting a new record. Canada’s market showed significant growth, with a 46.1% increase in visitors, thanks to expanded air services. European and Canadian arrivals approached their pre-pandemic levels, achieving 88.2% and 88.1% recovery, respectively.

The Caribbean hotel sector also experienced a positive turnaround in 2023, with average room occupancy reaching 65.6%, and significant increases in the average daily rate and revenue per available room. The cruise sector set a new record with an estimated 31.1 million visits, driven by pent-up demand and operational resumptions.

Looking ahead to 2024, the CTO projects continued growth in tourism, with stay-over tourist arrivals expected to increase by five to ten percent. This optimism is supported by anticipated developments such as increased air capacity, strategic marketing initiatives, and major events like the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 hosted across several Caribbean destinations. Despite ongoing challenges, the Caribbean remains a sought-after destination, promising a bright future for its tourism industry.

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