For the First Time, Caribbean Countries Lead in US Tourism Destinations

by Carolee Chanona

Border closures and travel restrictions have drastically changed where Americans are traveling, with the majority heading south to the Caribbean. Travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth, reveals which Caribbean countries have taken over the list of popular destinations following COVID-19.

US Travelers Flock to Caribbean Destinations

Squaremouth’s list of top destinations was historically ruled by European countries which have since closed their borders, leading to a significant shift in traveler behavior. Islands in the Caribbean now comprise half of the top 10 destinations of American travelers. While American cities are currently buying space heaters while parks shut down for the long winter ahead, the Caribbean is stressing their status as a year-round outdoor option. The concept checks out: head down here for the beaches, jungles and waterfalls, where social distancing comes naturally. It’s an attractive pitch, and favorable rates from resorts will only make it more enticing. But a monster second wave in the States could stand in the way of that vision.

Never-Before-Seen Destinations Top the Charts

Jamiaca River rafting caribbean destination

Bamboo Rafting down Jamaica’s Martha Brae River. Photo via Lovicarious

Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Aruba have never before been among the most popular destinations. Prior to COVID-19, The Bahamas and Costa Rica were the only Caribbean countries to ever make the top 10 list. Despite such, traveling during a pandemic is undoubtedly a privilege. Ensuring safe, responsible behavior is a shared responsibility between visitors, residents, business owners and employees. For those who do expect to travel to the Caribbean for tourism, please do so safely. After all, respect is the key to keeping each other safe and the sustainable longevity of Caribbean destinations so heavily reliant on tourism.

Turks and Caicos Surpasses The Bahamas in Popularity

Turks and Caicos caribbean island

Turks and Caicos. Photo via Libby Giambrone/Unsplash

Turks and Caicos is the fastest-growing international destination; it ranks as the fifth most popular destination overall, up from a 60th place in 2019. While The Bahamas have been a popular destination for the past decade, it was surpassed by Turks and Caicos following the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, each island and cay in the Turks & Caicos archipelago is a destination on to its own. Additionally, the sister islands is one of the six Caribbean destinations awarded by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) with a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.

METHODOLOGY: Data is based on all travel insurance policies purchased through between March 12October 19, 2020, for all future travel. Statistics reflect year-over-year changes unless otherwise noted. KEY CURRENT created the Coronavirus Pandemic Current Event Center which is updated daily with available travel insurance coverage and answers to FAQs as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. 

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