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Caribbean Region Reports Encouraging Rise in Tourism Arrivals During 2023

by Karen Rollins Apr 1, 2024

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Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

The number of international visitors to the Caribbean grew by an estimated 14.3 per cent in 2023, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). 

Delivering the ‘Caribbean Tourism Performance Review 2023’ in Barbados on Friday 15 March 2024, Secretary-General of the CTO, Dona Regis-Prosper, stated that last year’s growth was in line with the CTO’s forecast for the year.  

The Caribbean also surpassed pre-pandemic arrivals by 0.8 per cent, outperforming most of the main global regions in terms of recovery, according to Ms Regis-Prosper, with the data showing that each month’s arrivals in 2023 exceeded those of 2022.

Ms Regis-Prosper added: “Based on preliminary data provided so far by the destinations in the Caribbean, tourist visits were approximately 32.2 million – about four million more than in 2022.” 

Arrival levels for most Caribbean destinations either significantly recovered or moderately exceeded the benchmark numbers of 2019. Eleven destinations performed better than in 2019 – Anguilla, Aruba, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St Maarten, Turks & Caicos Islands, and the US Virgin Islands.

In terms of recovery from the main markets of the US, Canada, and Europe; the US contributed approximately 16.3 million visitors marking a 12.7% increase and setting a record for the region. Arrivals from Europe and Canada reached 88.2 per cent and 88.1 per cent, respectively.  

Regis-Prosper noted that arrivals from Europe to the Caribbean were stagnant in 2023. Approximately 5.2 million trips originated from that major market.  

In 2023, travel among Caribbean residents to destinations within the region increased by approximately 3.6 per cent, a total of 1.6 million trips, which was 0.3 million more compared to 2022. This also indicated a recovery of 62.5 per cent from pre-pandemic levels.  

Cruise tourism also hit a new high with an estimated 31.1 million visits, a 56.8% increase from 2019, driven by strong demand and operational enhancements. The cruise industry is expected to maintain its growth in 2024, with projections of 34.2 million to 35.8 million cruise visitors for the year.

Sources: TravelandTourWorld.com and Loop News Caribbean.