Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/11/2014 -- Despite the widespread economic downturn, the Caribbean tourism industry has survived, albeit not entirely unscathed. However, the region is once again showing an increase in arrivals and moderate growth in the value of the industry. Increasing investment in the hotel sector as well as in international transport means the region has also begun to see results as a number of projects under development come to fruition.
Our tourism report for the Caribbean considers the impact of ongoing global economic uncertainty on the Caribbean tourism industry, and how the region's fiscal issues are affecting its tourism arrivals. Following the decline of the financial services industry after the economic downturn hit in 2007, tourism has increased in importance to Caribbean economies. Although Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago have more diversified economies, the majority of the Caribbean islands are now primarily dependent on tourism as their major source of revenue.
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For this reason, it is encouraging that we are forecasting 2.4% growth in arrivals in 2014 following moderate growth of 1.4% in 2013. All but three countries recorded arrivals growth in 2013, with only Barbados, Curacao and Dominica experiencing declines, of 6.5%, 7.8% and 7.5% respectively. These three countries are heavily dependent on tourism and have suffered from the reduction in cruise lines visiting their ports. Other countries experienced strong growth, with the British Virgin Islands leading the pack with 6.9%. Other good performers were Guyana (5.1%) and the Cayman Islands (4.4%).
We are positive about prospects for 2014, when we expect all countries to experience arrivals growth. The Cayman Islands will continue to be one of the top performers, with 3.5% growth forecast, and most countries experiencing growth of around 2%. We expect this to lead to greater interest in investment in the region, with several major hotel chains scheduled to open new ventures in the Caribbean in 2014.
BMI key forecasts:
- BMI has extended its forecast period to 2018, including new forecasts for all data sets.
- BMI forecasts total arrivals to reach 33.0mn in 2014.
- BMI is expecting hotel numbers to grow by an impressive 8.5% in 2014, to 6,700. Hotels and restaurants industry value will reach US$8.8bn.
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