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Caribbean Celebrates Biggest Increase in Tourist Arrivals Since COVID-19 Pandemic

by Karen Rollins Mar 13, 2023

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The Caribbean region welcomed more than 28 million visitors from around the world in 2022, according to figures released by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).

Speaking at a recent news conference, CTO chairperson Kenneth Bryan, said this number represents a more than 50% increase compared with the previous year, and demonstrates how much travellers enjoy visiting the region despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mr Bryan added: “It’s clearly apparent that even in the face of the devastating blows delivered by the pandemic, as a region, we have responded with hope, strength, and determination to prevail.”

The CTO’s acting secretary-general, Neil Walters, also revealed that six countries including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the US Virgin Islands surpassed total pre-pandemic arrival numbers in 2022.

Americans accounted for more than 50% of visitors to the region last year, with 14.6 million US tourists choosing a Caribbean holiday – three million more than in 2021. The number of Europeans nearly doubled to 5.2 million and arrivals from Canada reached 2.1 million.

The number of cruise ship passengers also rose last year, with 19.2 million visits reported, five times higher than the previous year, but significantly less than the record 30.4 million visits in 2019.

Nearly all destinations reported an increase in visitors except for Haiti, which recorded a more than 20% fall in arrivals because of continuing gang violence and political instability.

Mr Bryan said tourism officials expect overall arrivals to the Caribbean to increase by up to 15% this year. A record 32 million people visited the Caribbean in 2019 and many are hoping that figure will be topped this year.

Sources: Associated Press and Jamaica Gleaner