In 2022, the some of Caribbean saw record-breaking tourist numbers, with some destinations surpassing their 2019 levels and others approaching them, according to a statement from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
The region is expected to equal or exceed its 2019 levels in 2023, and is on track to reclaim between 85% and 90% of its total arrivals in 2019 by the end of this year. The Caribbean was among the fastest-recovering regions globally in 2022, and this recovery has been evident in both land-based and cruise tourism. The region’s strong airlift from source markets, together with its reputation for hospitality, stability, connectivity, and wellness, have contributed to its success, the CTO said.
According to Neil Walters, acting secretary general: “The year 2022 and especially the second half of the year has been a very encouraging one for Caribbean tourism. While we are still seeing elements of the effect of the pandemic on international travel, here in the Caribbean, we have noted a much more consistent pattern of travel which is a good indicator of a return to normalcy and a path to 2019 levels.”
However, the Caribbean has not achieved this success without challenges. The region has had to deal with supply chain issues, political unrest in some parts of the world, and economic instability in key source markets. It has also faced a lack of intra-regional connectivity, particularly in the Central, Southern, and Eastern Caribbean, which has affected destinations that relied on intra-regional travel as a key source market prior to the pandemic.
In 2023, the CTO aims to make the Caribbean one of the top five fastest-growing tourism regions in the world. To achieve this, the organization will focus on key pillars such as research, product development, human resource development, and marketing. It will also work on attracting foreign direct investment and sustainable funding to support the region’s tourism sector.