BRIDGETOWN: The Caribbean recorded a rise in visitor arrivals during the first half of this year, according to figures released by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
CTO, which is based in Barbados, said the region enjoyed a 4.3 per cent increase during the first six months of 2014, almost matching 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.
“There is enough evidence to suggest that there is growing economic confidence in the region’s biggest neighbour and this is releasing much pent-up travel demand caused by a long recessionary period,” said Griffith.
The CTO research head stated that just 21 countries in the region were able to break down their tourist arrivals by destination in time for the report. From the most recent figures it was clear that more Europeans and Canadians are gravitating to the region, showing increases of six and 4.3 per cent, respectively.
For the winter period, January to April, at least five countries reported double digit growth and the CTO said that destinations continue to power through the current summer, showing signs of doing exceptionally well this year.
Griffith also announced that the cruise sector enjoyed an eight per cent increase in passenger arrivals to reach 13.1 million after the first half of this year.