Caribbean destinations heavily reliant on tourism are reporting steadily growing visitor arrivals as hotels reopen, flight services resume and expand and the resumption of cruise activity and new homeport agreements are confirmed.
Government and tourism officials gathering for last week’s Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's Virtual Marketplace event outlined the progress regional destinations have made to balance the resumption of the health and safety of residents and visitors with the need to resume crucial tourism activity.
Most officials reported positive results of traveller protocols and safeguards, as well as the prospects for continuing visitor growth as vaccinations increase among travellers as well as in Caribbean communities.
Jamaica is projecting welcoming 1.4 million combined land-based and cruise ship visitors in 2021. While this is a fraction of the record 4.3m visitors in 2019, it exceeds the 1.3m for its 170,000 tourism and hospitality workers.
“Across the world, consumers are ready to travel again,” said Joy Jibrilu, director general of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. “Our insights indicate there is a huge interest in Caribbean travel and specifically in travel to The Bahamas.”
“We have gradually seen visitors coming back to our shores,” said May Ling Chung, St. Maarten’s director of tourism. “We are very fortunate to have most of our carriers return. We also have some new flights and new airlines.”
“Demand for the Turks & Caicos is up and we are grateful for that,” said Elisha Jennings, senior public relations officer for the Turks & Caicos Tourist Board. American Airlines will launch new nonstop flights from New York’s JFK International Airport in June. JetBlue recently added new Turks & Caicos flights from Newark.
Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia, Guyana and many other English speaking Caribbean destinations are reporting positive tourism trends too.