By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tues. Oct. 12, 2021: Care to guess how many pandemic weary Americans travelled to the Caribbean in the last six months?
Some 4.3 million in the first half of 2021 alone, new data from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) shows. That’s a 21.7 percent increase from 2020.
The Caribbean region may be hammered by spikes in COVID-19 rates and US travel advisories, but it still outperformed the rest of the world in the first half of this year, the CTO said.
Data from the agency shows international tourist arrivals to the Caribbean reached 6.6 million, considerably better than the global average of a 65.1 per cent decline.
While the tourist arrivals, however, continue to lag pre-pandemic numbers, the first half year performance was boosted by a second quarter spurt when overnight tourist visits to the Caribbean jumped between ten and 37 times greater than those in the corresponding months in 2020.
In absolute terms, there was a steady improvement, as arrival numbers increased from one million in April to 1.2 million in May to 1.5 million in June, according to data compiled by the CTO’s research department.
Among the contributing factors cited was the easing of some travel restrictions and an increase in airlift.
“These are encouraging signs that the hard work our member countries have put into adapting to the changing environment of the pandemic is beginning to pay dividends,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general. “Even as we embrace a recovery mindset and the opportunities the pandemic has given us, we must continue to be mindful of the challenges we currently face and the potential challenges a dynamic situation like the pandemic can present. The Caribbean tourism sector is known to be one of the most resilient in the world.”