The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the authority on regional tourism statistics and performance, is reporting an overall decline in visitor arrivals of 10% for Dominica, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten and the US Virgin Islands.
Between January and September 2018, Dominica, with a total of 40,650 visitors, recorded an overall drop of 33.2 percent in tourist arrivals
Visitors to the island from the United States of America (USA) dropped by 53.7 percent to 6,814. The total number of 6754 visitors from Europe represented a drop of 49.9 percent and visitor arrivals from from Canada decreased by of 49.1 percent to 1, 244 visitors. Arrivals from other destinations totaled 24,838, a decline of 14.5 percent.
In a news conference earlier this week, CTO’s Acting Director of Research, Ryan Skeete reported that the Caribbean tourism sector is projected to record strong growth in 2019 on the heels of a stronger-than-expected performance last year.
“These destinations operated limited tourism amenities following the closure and renovation of major properties in the aftermath of the hurricanes in the latter part of 2017 which accounted for their poor winter performances. Some indications of recovery were noticeable in the summer period as the destinations managed to stem the pace of decline,” the report said.
The Discover Dominica Authority issued a release in February this year, headlined “Strong 4 th Quarter Performance Signals Tourism Recovery.”
“The months of October to December 2018 produced arrivals of 22,178 from all source markets, representing 35.3 % of total stay-over arrivals for the year which stood at 62, 828. This is an increase of 95% over the same period in 2017. Increases were registered at 91%, 113% and 78% respectively during the last three months of the year compared to 2017.”
The release also stated that the quarter also represents a marginal increase of 0.9% over the same period in 2016.
“November 2018 was the first month to show an increase over the same month in 2016, with an increase of 15.6 % over November 2016,” the DDA reported. “Arrivals amounted to 5,271 which is the highest number of arrivals for that month over the past 12 years of reported data, representing a record for the destination in that regard. December figures showed that the upswing continued, registering a 6.7 % increase over December 2016 arrivals.”
According to the DDA report, the year-end figure of 62, 828 visitor arrivals, represents a 13% decline over 2017 figures of 72, 228.
“This performance surpassed the projections given for countries which had suffered a natural disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Maria during the previous year, as expected declines are normally in the vicinity of 30%. In addition, the 2018 numbers represent only a 20% decline over 2016 arrivals which is also of significance,” the release stated.
It may be necessary useful to point out that the figures presented by the CTO are for the period January to December 2018 while the DDA release covers the entire year.