Caribbean must keep momentum in attracting tourists, says region’s tourism org

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is urging Caribbean nations to keep the momentum of tourism in the region to be able to join in the top five of the world’s fastest-growing economies that rely heavily on tourism.

CTO’s acting secretary-general Neil Walters disclosed that the Barbados-based organisation has come up with ways to maintain the momentum that the tropical region has gained post-pandemic.

Walters said that in 2022, the “Caribbean was among the fastest-recovering regions globally” and would have “reclaimed between 85 percent and 90 percent of total arrivals in 2019.” He expects that the arrivals to equal or exceed these levels in 2023.

To achieve this, Walters is eyeing to tap markets other than the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.

“To date, the majority of our efforts have been focused on traditional markets, resulting in the significant recovery outlined above,” Walters said in his New Year’s message as reported by the Caribbean News Weekly.

“We have seen unprecedented levels of airlift into the region from our source markets and the aforementioned recovery has been very evident in both land based and cruise tourism,” he said.

Some Caribbean nations are already aligning their tourism agenda to the CTO’s call.

The small island of Dominica, for example, is keeping its tourism eco-friendly and close to nature with its massive support on eco-tourism. The government has been developing eco-resorts with the funds generated through the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI). 

The almost three-decade old program, which has topped Financial Times’ PWM CBI Index for six consecutive years, has largely helped build back better infrastructure for the country.

Several housing projects, educational institutions, healthcare facilities get their funding from the CBI programme, with private developing company MMC Development Ltd. overseeing these massive projects as mandated by the government.

The CBI programme also funds Dominica’s first international airport, which is expected to be up and running by 2026. The country hopes to usher in more tourists with the international airport, as it reduces the travel time for international visitors coming into the island.

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