The Caribbean witnessed a record 8.7 million long-stay international tourist arrivals for the first quarter of this year. This represents an increase of 150,000 or 1.8% increase for the same period in 2016.
Speaking at a media conference at Caribbean Week in New York recently, Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Secretary-General, Hugh Riley said that the other Caribbean market, which includes Cancun, Cozumel, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Suriname, led growth across the sub-region for the period under review with arrivals up 6.3% as at the end of March 2017.
Riley said cruise passenger arrivals for the first three months of this year increased by an estimated 4.5% to reach ten million, compared to last year.
The tourism official also pointed out that the CTO had embarked on a five-year plan to grow the organisation and better assist members, adding that CTO was also looking at the possibility of expanding its membership to countries outside the traditional Caribbean region but washed by the Caribbean sea and seek membership in the organisation.
“The Council of Ministers and Commissioners endorsed a joint CTO/CHTA collaboration to put together for the consideration of Caribbean Community heads of government, a framework for the development of a Caribbean public/private sector tourism marketing and development initiative,” he added.