The Caribbean is a popular destination for tourists, but the number of visitors arriving from outside of the region has been on a steady decline. In contrast, the number of visitors coming from within the Caribbean has been increasing steadily since 2000.
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CDC travel warnings, ever-changing health standards, and restricted vaccination availability remain significant obstacles, yet Caribbean visitor arrivals destinations are recovering faster than any other worldwide area, according to authorities from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
Land-based tourists to the area continue to fall below pre-pandemic levels. The number of visitors to the Caribbean in May 2021 was 5.2 million, down 30.8 percent from the same month in 2020. Pre-pandemic 2019, CTO destinations welcomed 31.5 million land-based tourists.
However, Caribbean visitors outperformed other worldwide locations, which had a 65.1 percent drop in average arrivals from January to May this year, according to CTO authorities. In the first half of 2021, foreign tourist visits in the Caribbean totalled 6.6 million, down 12% from the same period in 2020.
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Officials stated that a second-quarter arrivals spike of between “10 and 37 times higher than those in the comparable months” in 2020 boosted the Caribbean’s first-half 2021 arrivals. “There was a continuous rise in absolute terms, with arrival numbers increasing from one million in April to 1.2 million in May to 1.5 million in June.”
Travelers from the Caribbean’s main market totalled 4.3 million in the first half of this year, a 21.7 percent increase over 2020, driving the region’s robust second-quarter performance.
Officials from the CTO attributed the region’s development to “contributing factors,” such as “the relaxation of certain travel restrictions and increasing airlift.” “The Caribbean tourist industry is well-known for being one of the world’s most robust,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary-general.
Several CTO-tracked destinations have also reported high arrivals in the first half of 2021. Arrivals in Puerto Rico skyrocketed from 135,146 in pandemic-stricken July 2020 to 553,554 in July this year, breaking the territory’s all-time monthly record of 512,796 set in June of this year.
According to Charles Fernandez, the country’s tourism minister, Antigua and Barbuda’s overnight visitors in July exceeded the dual-island nation’s totals during the same time in pre-pandemic 2019. He characterized the country’s tourism as “burgeoning.”
According to authorities with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the country’s one-millionth tourist arrived in August after the country’s border reopened on June 15, 2020, after the pandemic outbreak.
“These are promising indications that the hard effort our member nations have put into adjusting to the new pandemic environment is paying off,” Walters said.
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