The Caribbean has good reason to start off the new year with hopeful confidence, thanks to a recent report by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). According to that report, the region was among the fastest-recovering regions in the world for 2022. In fact, tourism numbers reached 85% and 90% of pre-pandemic levels for a majority of countries. Some destinations even saw more arrivals than they had in 2019. Now, in 2023, the Caribbean is looking towards maintaining its position as one of the fastest growing tourism regions in the world.
A New Year’s Message from the Caribbean Tourism Organization
“The year 2022, and especially the second half of the year, has been a very encouraging one for Caribbean tourism. While we are still seeing elements of the effect of the pandemic on international travel, here in the Caribbean, we have noted a much more consistent pattern of travel which is a good indicator of a return to normalcy,”
-Neil Walters, acting Secretary General of the CTO
In a New Year’s message released earlier this week, the CTO shared that it hopes to create mechanisms to ensure that the Caribbean remains among the top five fastest growing tourism regions in the world. That includes continuing to focus on traditional, and successful, markets, but also looking at untapped and untraditional markets outside of the US, the UK, and Europe that are “ripe for growth”.
Critical to the continued development of the region, said the CTO, are the people and diverse cultural and natural resources of the Caribbean – key assets to the tourism sector.
The successes of the Caribbean in 2022, though, were not without roadblocks. According to the CTO, our ability to learn from and recover from the significant challenges of the 27 months up to June 2022 are a testament to the resilience of Caribbean tourism and Caribbean people in general. Many of those challenges continue today, but the region remains optimistic.
“Thus far, we have been able to ride out the supply chain issues, the political unrest existing in some regions of the world and the economic unrest which seems to be forever looming in our key source markets,” said the New Year’s statement.
Reasons to Visit the Caribbean in 2023
With it’s ease of accessibility, world-class hospitality, and, in the words of CTO Chairman, Hon. Kenneth Bryan, “perennial well-earned status as a region for wellness,” the Caribbean attracts tens of millions of visitors yearly. Home to some 700 islands and 30 territories, the region is as diverse as it is vast. It offers far more than just white sand beaches and sapphire waters – although, those are just as alluring.
The Caribbean is home to a vast array of cultures and nationalities, many of which are connected, despite distance, by shared traditions and histories. Compounding that are lush natural landscapes, desirable weather, vibrant festivals, and eclectic foods.
The region, however, is also one of the most at risk of facing the effects of climate change, despite contributing little to greenhouse gas emissions. So that we can all continue to enjoy this beautiful region and all that it offers, there are a number of drastic changes that must be made to address this growing issue.
Featured Photo: Koffee and Troy “Dj Dalla” Flowers at the 2022 Belize International Music and Food Festival. Photo by the Belize Tourism Board.