It’s great to see the Caribbean on the rise
With APD reformed and visitor numbers up, this has been a strong year for the region, says the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s Carol Hay
This year has been a remarkable one for the Caribbean so far. Starting with the news of a two-band Air Passenger Duty, the growing number of cruise passengers and flights to the region – it’s great to see the Caribbean on the rise.
We have maintained our popularity and position as the world’s premier year-round warm-weather destination, and figures suggest arrivals from the UK in the first quarter rose by more than 6%.
There have been some challenges along the way, but we have seen a growing demand for the Caribbean, especially from Italy, Russia and Scandinavia, and a 5.5% increase from Europe as a whole. This can be attributed to the confidence in economic stability in the eurozone and competitively priced deals across the Caribbean.
At the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, we work with more than 30 Caribbean destinations, plus hoteliers, airlines, cruise companies and operators in the UK.
We want to ensure that there is better knowledge-sharing among members and continually offer opportunities to network, take part in workshops, roundtables, and awareness and risk preparation training related to the region.
The Caribbean Travel Guru programme has been a fantastic resource: designed to boost knowledge of the region, it is integral to our campaign and this knowledge can aid travel agents to generate more Caribbean sales.
The Caribbean is reaffirming that it can offer so much more than being a leading beach destination, with culture, heritage and sustainable travel becoming key components in holidaymakers choosing it.
Alongside our members, we have led the way in offering travellers the opportunity to have authentic experiences that also benefit the destination. Nevis, for example, is developing a geothermal project that will make the country one of the greenest in the world, while the eco-luxury retreat Rosalie Bay offers guests a chance to take part in sea turtle conservation efforts in Dominica.
There has also been substantial investment in a host of openings and refurbishments. This year alone has seen more than 10 luxury resorts open, including Malliouhana in Anguilla and St Kitts’ Kittitian Hill, with Baha Mar in Bahamas set to open at the end of the year.
The cruise industry is also helping to boost tourism in the Caribbean and creating opportunities for employment and economic advancement across the region.
With so much choice and so many exciting new developments, there should be plenty to recommend and sell in the Caribbean this year.
Help is on hand at our website, caribbean.co.uk, through our training programmes and newsletters, as well as events within the CTO’s UK chapter.
Carol Hay is director of marketing UK and Europe at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation
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