Grenada, according the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, recorded a near 22% decrease in cruise passengers visits during 2013, while during the same period Curaçao welcomed more than 45% more than it did in 2012.
This was disclosed by Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Hon. Beverly Nicholson–Doty when she presented the State of the Industry Report during a media briefing that was broadcast live throughout the Caribbean. Describing the cruise sector as having “wild fluctuations in 2013” Hon Nicholson–Doty said overall, there was a 2.75% rise with nearly 22 million cruise passenger visits to the region.
“Twice as many destinations recorded increased activity when compared to 2012. However destinations farthest from the US continued to struggle to boost arrivals,” she told journalists, while explaining that the numbers suggest that the summer months of 2013 were the best ever for summer cruising in the Caribbean.
In providing an update on the status of discussion between cruise officials and the CTO, she said that following a meeting with cruise executives last month there was an agreement for both parties to work more closely together to ensure the destinations and the cruise companies gain the maximum benefit from the relationship.
“The cruise industry is an integral part of the region and we want to ensure we in the Caribbean have the opportunity and access to provide our quality products and services for our cruise partners, as well as for the thousands of visitors they carry to our shores,” she said, while confirming that for 2014 the Caribbean anticipates an improved performance.
“Clearly, we continue to face challenges, therefore, we can be neither complacent nor over-confident. We have to fight to boost arrivals both from traditional markets and new and emerging markets. The figures suggest that South America has immense potential,” said Nicholson–Doty in her report.
Cruise activity, she said is also expected to pick up, with more ships being delivered. Several of these ships will be deployed in our regional waters. The CTO predicts that cruise passenger arrivals to the Caribbean will increase by about 3% this year.
It’s generally expected that global economies will perform better in 2014, with the IMF predicting 1% growth across Europe and 2.8 % in the US. The demand for travel, therefore, will remain buoyant. As a result, tourist arrivals to the Caribbean are expected to rise 2–3% in 2014.
Nicholson–Doty said that as with other sectors, tourism is dependent on the whims of the global economy, however, it is clear that the resilience of tourism gives it an extra value dimension.
“Smart partnership with commerce is smart, and we have to work in harmony with the airlines, cruiselines, and all other organisations and enterprises which contribute to tourism development. We must also work with our community-based operators who we are pleased to see are benefiting more and more from tourism,” she said.
By Linda Straker