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The Caribbean is predicting that the tourism sector will grow by at least two per cent this year after the region was forced to revised its earlier prediction of at least 3.5 per cent this year due to the damage caused by two hurricanes this year, the chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Dionisio D’Aguilar has said.
Addressing a news conference at the World Travel Market conference here, D’Aguilar the region is now expecting growth to be “between one and two per cent, with a similar growth rate projected for next year”.
Several Caribbean countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, the British Virgin Islands as well as the Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla have been impacted by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September resulting in several deaths and billions of dollars in damage.
“We began the year growing at a healthy pace of 5.2 per cent between January and June, when compared to the same period last year,” he said, noting that this was ahead of the growth rate of 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent which had been our forecast and was a reflection of economic stability in the market, expansion and inauguration of flights by major carriers and new marketing and product development initiatives.
He said during this period the region recorded 16.6 million international tourist arrivals, an estimated 800,000 more than in the first six months of 2016 and D’Aguilla said growth was recorded in all major source markets except South America, which contracted by 14.3 per cent.
Growth in the cruise sector also remained positive and stronger than the expected performance in the first half of the year.
“At the end of the first six months of 2017, cruise passenger arrivals to the Caribbean region had reached an estimated 15.3 million, up four per cent over the corresponding period of 2016. CMC