Indications point to a rebound in
visitor arrivals across the Caribbean in 2010,
according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
Moderate growth is expected for the
region on the heels of positive indicators from the fourth quarter of 2009.
According to Winfield Griffith,
director of research and information technology, the CTO is expecting tourism
in the region to grow by up to three percent in 2010 as the global economy
continues to see recovery.
Despite the global economic slump,
the Caribbean remains one of the world’s most
popular tourist regions. A total of 22.1 million people visited the Caribbean in 2009, down from 22.9 million in 2008.
Griffith pointed to
positive trending in visitor arrivals during the course of 2009 as a cause for
hope in 2010. Although aggregate tourist arrivals to the 33 CTO member
countries declined by 3.6 percent in 2009, quarterly data showed successive improvements
during the year.
The first quarter saw a 6.6 percent
decline in visitation yet that percentage dropped to 6.0 percent in the second
quarter, 2.0 percent in the third quarter and then actually saw an increase in
year-over-year visitation of 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter.
Cruise visitor arrivals to the
region as a whole increased 1.4 percent after a 3 percent decline in 2008. This
increase was associated with the aggressive marketing drive of the cruise line
along with price specials.
According to CTO Secretary General
Hugh Riley, obvious challenges exist for the region but several factors offer
hope for a successful 2010.
“While the global economy is
still in a state of flux, interest in the Caribbean
remains extremely high. We, along with our destination, hotel and cruise
partners have continued to promote the region and we feel that in an
increasingly hectic world with all the related pressures, now, more than ever,
life needs the Caribbean and we’re here to
make life easier for our visitors,” said Mr. Riley.
The Port Authority of
the Cayman Islands issued forecasts this week
that predicted cruise visitor numbers would outperform 2009 by 10 per cent or
more. The increased numbers were based on the capacity of cruise ships that
were booked and confirmed to visit Cayman in 2010.