Caribbean tourism resilient despite challenges
Despite the myriad challenges, this year the Caribbean welcomed nearly one million more tourists than the previous year for the same period. For the first six months of 2017, data compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organization show that the region welcomed 16.6 million international tourists in the first six months as compared to the same period the previous year, constituting a growth rate of 5.2%,” revealed Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica while speaking at the inaugural of the UN World Tourism Organization Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism addressing ‘The Future of Caribbean Tourism: Sustainability and Resilience.’
“So far, Jamaica’s tourism performance for 2017 has been no less impressive than that of the wider region. We are already on track to surpass last year’s historic growth rate of 4% or 3.84 million visitors in total. We welcomed over 3.3 million visitors in the first nine months of 2017 and we expect total arrivals to surpass four million by the first week of December,” he said.
“I am very optimistic that we will be able to craft a global agenda that seeks to design collaborative approaches to mitigate shared tourism risks and strengthen resilience as well as build consensus around the strategies necessary to further position global tourism as a catalyst for promoting inclusive economic growth, sustainable livelihoods, environmental sustainability, and social development,” Bartlett added.
The resilience of the tourism sector in the region has already been tested with the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which affected 13 of the most tourism-dependent countries in the region.