Guyana topping Caribbean for increase in tourist arrivals – CTO report
By Stabroek staff | November 6, 2009 in Business
A report just out on the performance of the tourism sector in the
Caribbean indicates that in a year when the regional tourism sector was
severely buffeted by the storm of a global financial and economic
crisis, Guyana, not traditionally regarded as a major destination of
choice among tourists to the region, recorded the highest level of
visitor arrivals among select destinations in the region.
The October 2009 report on the outlook for the global economy and
Caribbean tourism prepared by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)
and released recently indicates that Guyana's 6 per cent increase in
visitor arrivals this year was the highest among a group of Caribbean
countries that include several regional destinations including Jamaica,
Cuba, St. Lucia, the US Virgin Islands, Curacao, Puerto Rico and Belize.
Only two of the other countries listed in the report Jamaica (4 per
cent) and Cuba (4 1/2 per cent) recorded an increase in visitor arrivals
Several of the traditionally popular tourist destinations in the region
recorded declines in visitor arrivals of more than 10 per cent.
Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Martin, the Cayman Islands, Antigua
and Barbuda and The Bahamas all recorded between 10 and 15 per cent
downturns in visitor arrivals while other destinations including
Grenada, Bermuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded declines in
visitor arrivals totalling up to 20 per cent in some instances.
According to the CTO report Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands
fared the worst in terms of visitor arrivals in the region this year
with visitors to those countries dipping by between 40 and 45 per cent
So far this year visitor arrivals to the Caribbean from Europe have been
down by more than 8 per cent while arrivals from the United States
dipped by more than 6 per cent. For this year, however, visitor arrivals
from Canada increased by more than 8 per cent. The report says that
Cuba, the Dominican Republic and St. Lucia are the three Caribbean
destinations that benefited disproportionately from the increase in
visitor arrivals in the region from Canada.
With data available up to July this year for most markets the CTO has
reported that fourteen Caribbean destinations have suffered declines
exceeding ten per cent with eight of these exceeding fifteen per cent.
Europe's sharp decline among the region's traditional source markets is
attributed to weakening exchange rates, particularly sterling rates and
the relatively higher cost of transportation to the region.
The CTO report, however, is less than gloomy about this year's
performance by the regional tourism sector so far, pointing out that the
rate of decline "appears to be moderating across the region." It notes
that average performances of 5 per cent in July and 7 per cent in August
were significantly better than the double digit declines of May and June.
Data released by the CTO on tourist arrivals in the region up to June
this year include preliminary figures which indicate that April was the
best month for Guyana up to that time with 13,507 tourists arriving
here. While the numbers subsequently dipped to 8,941 in May and jumped
to 11,012 in June the figures suggest a general upward trend in arrivals
The CTO statistical table on tourist arrivals by main market (based on
data available as at September 17,2009) indicate that between January
and July this year 45,029 tourists visited Guyana from the United States
while 14,060 tourists from Canada came here. During the same period
4,935 European tourists came to Guyana while 17,241 came from other
The Dominican Republic recorded by far the largest number of visitors
among Caribbean destinations between January and June this year with
arrivals topping 400,000 in March this year but dipping to just over
331,000 by June.
Widely regarded as the sleeping giant of regional tourism, Cuba received
more than 279,000 tourists this year despite continued restrictions on
travel to the island by Americans. In line with the regional trend,
however, tourist arrivals to Cuba dipped just under 165,000 in June this
year. Jamaica, the most popular Caricom destination for North American
tourists received more than 600,000 tourists from the United States
between January and July this year and 175,365 from Canada. Tourists
visiting Jamaica from Europe during the January to June period totalled
While there are no official figures for visitor arrivals to Cuba from
the United States large numbers of Americans are now known to be
visiting the island and regional tourist analysts are already pondering
what they believe could be a significant shift in tourist patronage from
the United States once the United States market is formally opened to
Cuba. Meanwhile both Canadian and Europeans continue to find Cuba a
pleasing regional tourist destination. Between January and July this
year 659,583 Canadians and 522,411 European tourists visited Cuba.
Among CARICOM member countries Jamaica continued to attract the highest
number of tourists to the Caribbean. While figures published by CTO
indicate that by June this year Jamaica had upped its visitor arrivals
to 168,561 from 148,886 in January the downward trend compared to last
year continues to be a source of acute concern to that country's tourism
sector. Complete figures for tourist arrivals up to June this year were
not available for some Caricom countries including Trinidad and Tobago
and The Bahamas.
The figures produced by the CTO for visitor tourist arrivals in the
region up to June this year indicate that among the major tourist
destinations in the region Barbados fared among the worst with the
45,455 tourist arrivals on the island in January this year dipping to
34,377 by June.
Stabroek News – Guyana topping Caribbean for increase in tourist
arrivals – CTO report (6 November 2009)