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Caribbean tourism booming

| 23/02/2015 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): As we settle into 2015, with it comes the forecast for a bustling and booming tourism season in the Caribbean.  The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) recently published data that shows a record 26.3 million tourists traveled to the Caribbean last year, and that number is expected to grow even more. The study states that the Cayman Islands was the destination for 1.4 per cent of the 26 million Caribbean vacationers.

In the 2015 Resonance Report: Portrait of the U.S. International Leisure Traveler, the Caribbean ranked number two on the list as a highly desirable destination for American tourists. The data showed 46 per cent of US international travelers said they would like to visit the region in the next two years.

Coming in at the top of the ‘must visit’ list is Europe at 57%. The study states that in November 2014, Resonance Consultancy surveyed more than 1,200 people who have traveled outside the US on vacation in the past 12 months and plan to do so again in the next 12-24 months.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently estimated that tourism in the Caribbean grew by 6.6% in 2014. Hugh Riley, the CTO’s secretary general, said in a media report that land-based (non-cruise) arrivals rose by 5.3%, while the worldwide tourism growth rate was 4.7 per cent.

Riley stated in the report that last year 1.3 million more visitors came to the Caribbean than in 2013. Numbers show that tourists overall spent more than $29 billion in the Caribbean last year, an increase of more than $1 billion over the previous year.

Officials attributed the increase in part to improvements at airports around the region, the opening of new hotel chains and an increase in direct flights and airline seat capacity.

Within the Caribbean, the Bahamas was the most popular destination choice, according to the 2015 Resonance Report: Portrait of the U.S. International Leisure Traveler, with 13% of US international travelers naming it as a place they would like to visit in the next couple of years. Jamaica, Aruba and the Cayman Islands tied for second place as favorite Caribbean destinations with 11%, followed by St. Maarten (10%), St. Lucia (9%) and Bermuda (9%).

Next month the Bahamas will welcome visitors to the island along New Providence’s Cable Bay, to the grand opening of a new $3.5 billion dollar mega resort called Baha Mar. This resort, with its four luxury hotels and 50 restaurants, is hoping to boost tourism by 30% and generate an additional $1 billion in tourism revenue during the first year.

In a Caribbean Journal report, it states that the Turks and Caicos Islands are the fastest-growing tourism destination in the wider Caribbean region. The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board reported a 50% increase in visitors to the archipelago last year. Data shows there was a total of 435,475 stopover arrivals in 2014, up 290,587 from 2013.

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Category: Stay-over tourism, Tourism

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