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Published on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Caribbean tourism declined 65 per cent in 2020






The Caribbean experienced a significant drop in arrivals in 2020, with a 65.5% decline compared to 2019.


It fell to just over 11 million arrivals but fared better as a region compared to other parts of the world.


A period of virtually no tourism began in mid-March - the second quarter was the worst-performing with arrivals down by 97.3%.


Tourist traffic began again in June as parts of the Caribbean began to reopen. 


Still, the fall-off in stayover arrivals continued through to September - when a gradual reversal began and continued right up to December.


Destination initiatives such as long-stay work programs, other promotional activities and efforts of regional organisations such as the CTO, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Public Health agency, contributed to a gradual rise in arrivals.


Cruise traffic started strong in 2020 however a 20.1% fall in the first quarter was followed by no activity for the remainder of the year as ships remained non-operational. The overall result was a 72% slide to 8.5 million cruise visits, when compared to the 30 million visits in 2019.


The limited travel beyond the first two-and-a-half months of the year, resulted in difficulties in compiling visitor expenditure numbers in 2020.


It is estimated that across the region, visitor expenditure declined by 60 to 80%, in line with the decline in stayover and cruise arrivals.


Preliminary data indicates that the average length of stay for 2020 remained at roughly seven nights, the same as in in 2019.


The Caribbean Tourism Organization is predicting a 20% rise in arrivals in 2021, with a similar increase in visitor expenditure, when compared to 2020.

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