-- Final visitor numbers for the Caribbean region for 2004 are in,
according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
The visitor tally
topped 21.8 million, which represents a 7% overall increase in air
arrivals last year over 2003. Cruise passenger visits last year
increased by 13%, to 20.5 million.
Arley Sobers, CTOs
director of information management and research, said that the
Caribbean tourism sector in 2004 can best be described as robustly
holding its own.
Based on a sample of
Caribbean hotels in 11 CTO member countries, the average room
occupancy for 2004 was 67.9% as compared with 62.7% in 2003.
Meanwhile, the average revenue per available room increased 16.4%,
to $96.14 in 2004, according to Smith Travel Research,
international hotel performance analysts.
Growth in tourist
arrivals in 2004 slowed as the year progressed, Sobers
From January through
April 2004, arrivals jumped 10% but fell to 6% from May through
December. Although the active hurricane season was clearly a factor
in the slowdown, the setback was a temporary one, according to
In terms of major
markets, tourist arrivals from the U.S. grew 7% last year; arrivals
from Canada were up 16% (although most visitors went to Cuba and
the Dominican Republic), while arrivals from Europe grew by just
From a percentage
standpoint, the big winners last year in terms of air arrivals
included Anguilla (up 16.5%), Montserrat (up 18.3%), the Cayman
Islands (up 14.5%), and St. Maarten (up 14.1%).
From a numbers point
of view, the Dominican Republic recorded 3.4 million air arrivals;
the Bahamas, with 1.4 million; and Jamaica, with close to 1.3
On the cruise side,
the islands with the biggest percentage gains were Dominica (up
106.1%), Belize (up 55.1%) and Grenada (up 74.6%). Grenadas cruise
figures, by the way, measured only the first seven months of the
year before Hurricane Ivan struck in September.
To contact the
reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at