BRIDGETOWN: Chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Richard Sealy, has announced that arrivals to the Caribbean are up for the first half of this year.
In a message marking Caribbean Tourism Month in November, Sealy said statistics provided by the CTO’s research department confirm the increase.
The CTO reported that the region enjoyed a 4.3 per cent increase during the first six months of 2014, in line with the world average of 4.7 per cent.
CTO director of research and information technology, Winfield Griffith, said that just under 14 million long-stay tourists visited the Caribbean between January and June, with nearly half this number (6.87 million) coming from the United States.
He said compared to the same period last year, when 6.61 million American visitors arrived in the Caribbean, the 2014 figure represents a 3.9 per cent rise in arrivals from the U.S. market.
The Month of Tourism will be observed under the theme “One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean”, and Sealy said it provides an opportunity to “engage in activities collectively and individually that involve the people of the Caribbean, to remind every Caribbean national that tourism is critical to the region.
“It’s a period during which we remind the world that every member country has something different to offer, every experience is a unique experience, but that, as the Caribbean, we are a strong, powerful, desirable brand.
“Caribbean Tourism Month gives everyone in the industry an opportunity to open their doors to citizens and to help them understand and appreciate tourism, to help them feel that they too are part of the industry, that they are impacted by the industry, that they have a role to play in the growth of the industry,” he said.
Sealy said the month also provides stakeholders with the chance to look inwards “at our approach to tourism, at the quality of our product, at the strategies we employ in managing this vital sector. Indeed, this is an ideal time to look at current world trends and find the opportunities to keep pace with the rest of the world”.
Sealy said that while the trend this year shows an upswing in tourist arrivals, the Caribbean “must aim to out-grow the rest of the world.
“In order to achieve this, in order to remain competitive, in order to realize our vision of positioning the Caribbean as the world’s most desirable, year round, warm weather destination, we must combine the efforts of all stakeholders, public sector and private sector, those who contribute directly and those who do indirectly, tourism workers and the general population.
“Our success will depend on strong relationships within the travel trade, solid public relations approaches, sound bonds with our citizens and strong regulatory and policy support at the national level. For it is by our combined efforts that we can ensure that tourism benefits our countries, our communities, our constituencies,” he said.