After a slow Start, the Caribbean experienced sharp differences between countries in terms of tourist arrivals, as shown in the Q3 Caribbean Tourism Report. In general, the picture was positive, with several countries posting increases in tourist arrivals, following a year of overall decline in 2009.
St Lucia and the US Virgin Islands registered high levels of arrivals growth in Q110, with arrival numbers growing by 12.5% and 15.0% year-on-year (y-oy) respectively, reminiscent of the regional growth levels experienced prior to the 2008-2009 global economic slowdown.
Other countries experienced smaller levels of arrivals growth, with the number of visitors to Aruba and Barbados increasing by 3.1% and 1.7% respectively. Regional bellwether the Dominican Republic, a major tourist destination, experienced growth of 3.9%.
The picture was less positive for Bermuda and Curacao, which experienced arrival declines of 17.9% and 13.5% respectively. These countries have only reported figures for January, so full first quarter figures are likely to show a more moderate decline.
With the 2010 hurricane season forecast to be heavier than in 2009, arrivals are likely to slow again before picking up in the pre-Christmas high season.