St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN); While the Caribbean is expected to see continued growth in the tourism industry, the numbers will not likely be as impressive as in recent years.
Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Hugh Riley, speaking to the region’s tourism performance for 2016 and projections for 2017:
“In the months ahead we expect tourist arrivals in the region to grow at a slower rate between 2.5 % and 3.5% in 2017. We also project increases of between 1.5 % and 2.5% in cruise passenger arrivals. So all things being equal, we’re expecting growth in 2017, but it will probably not be robust.”
The CTO’s Director of Research & IT, Ryan Skeete, says global uncertainty of the new United States administration and the UK/EU’s Brexit could impact the performance of the region’s tourism in 2017 and beyond.
“2016 saw the election of a new Republican Administration and the success of a referendum which mandates that the United Kingdom withdraw from the European Union. Both these events raise the level of global uncertainty, which could impact the performance of tourism in 2017 and beyond.
"Cuba was the destination that offered the greatest growth potential. However, at the end of 2016, several US-based airlines, citing reduced demand, announced they were cutting some of the promised capacity for 2017 to the destination.
"Altogether, we expect that tourist arrivals to the region will grow at a slower rate of between 2.5 and 3.5% in 2017.”
The Caribbean is coming off its 7th straight year of growth in 2016, with increases in stay-over and cruise visits, and total visitor expenditure estimated to have increased by approximately 3.5% to reach US$35.5 billion.