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Caribbean tourist arrivals set to hit 30M

The Caribbean region saw 28.7 million visitors in 2015, an increase of 7 per cent over 2014 and a record in terms of number of arrivals to the region, according to the outgoing chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. At present, 2016 is pacing ahead of 2015 and for the first time the region is likely to see 30 million visitors. 

WINN FM (St Kitts & Nevis)
Monday, September 19, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016

Caribbean Tourism Organization logoSt. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Outgoing Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Richard Sealy is emphasizing the resiliency of the Caribbean brand, pointing to increased room stock and arrival numbers as evidence that the region can overcome its evident challenges.

He gave the feature address Wednesday evening (Sept 14) at the Barbados Hilton at the opening of the CTO’s State Of The Industry Conference (SOTIC) 2016 to 500 delegates drawn from the public and private sectors academia, media, and youth.

“What we’ve had to deal with in the present day and not so much in the past is the competition from other regions- the Pacific, Asia, the Middle East, and yes Sub-Saharan Africa have all emerged offering competition to the product that we provide in the region.

“It is therefore in my opinion, very encouraging that in the face of all of this the region saw 28.7 million visitors in 2015. That was an increase of 7 percent over 2014 and in fact was a record in terms of number of arrivals to the region. 2016 is pacing ahead of 2015 and for the first time we will see 30 million visitors to the region. We have to commend ourselves for that fact given how challenging and competitive the industry is.”

The world’s most tourism dependent region has weathered challenges in the past linked to financial markets, oil prices, weather events, and economies operating in tight fiscal spaces. Mr. Sealy, the Barbados Minister if Tourism and International Transport, didn’t dwell on the current challenges including the headline grabbing mosquito borne Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue viruses; Cuba’s improved relations with the US and how that could impact arrivals on other destinations; Britain’s exit from the European Union[BREXIT] and that impact on arrivals; youth unemployment and poverty; and the challenges posed by climate change.

This is an excerpt from WINN FM (St Kitts & Nevis) as it appeared on September 19, 2016. For updates or to read the current version of this post in its entirety, please click here.

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Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe has been elected chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organizatio. The election took place last week in Barbados at the organization’s annual general meeting during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference. Joy Jibrilu, The Bahamas' Director General of Tourism, was also named chairman of the CTO's board of directors.

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