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Caribbean tourism performance back to 2008 levels

Stay-over arrivals to the Caribbean are back to 2008 levels, according to statistics compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organization(CTO)research department. The region recorded a 4.7 percent rise in visitor arrivals in 2010, welcoming 23.1 million tourists, up from 22.1 million visitors in 2009.

“This figure takes us back to the peak arrivals levels we recorded in 2008,”said Winfield Griffith, the CTO’s director of research and information technology.

Cruise tourism has also been on the rise, registering a six percent increase for 2010, while the hotel sector registered marginal increase with a one percent rise in occupancy and five percent increase in total room revenues.

CTO statistics show that countries of the Caribbean Community(CARICOM)recorded a four percent rise in 2010 over 2009 on the strength of a six percent rise in the sub-regional grouping, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States(OECS). Among the OECS states, Anguilla and St. Lucia recorded double digit gains.

The Dutch Caribbean showed a marginal increase in arrivals, dampened somewhat by Curacao’s eight percent decline over the first three quarters of this year. The Spanish speaking Caribbean continued to experience positive growth in arrivals in excess of six percent on average, the CTO statistics revealed.

“Indications are that the fortunes of Caribbean tourism are gradually changing for the better, but could take some time before experiencing robust, sustained growth,”Mr. Griffith said.

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