Stayover arrivals to the Caribbean are back to 2008 levels, according to statistics compiled by the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
The region recorded a 4.7% rise in visitor arrivals in 2010, welcoming 23.1 million tourists, up from 22.1 million in 2009.
“This figure takes us back to the peak arrival levels we recorded in 2008,” said Winfield Griffith, the CTO’s director of research and information technology.
“This is the time of year to take stock and review our goals as we celebrate the accomplishments of this year,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general of the CTO.
“Through tough economic times, our resilience and fighting spirit helped us register upward movement in tourism arrivals. The revenue position also continues to improve. We look forward to the new year with optimism.”
Cruise tourism also has been on the rise, registering a 6% jump in 2010. The hotel sector registered a marginal 1% rise in occupancy and a 5% increase in total room revenues.
CTO statistics show that the 13 countries of the Caribbean Community, or Caricom, recorded a 4% rise in 2010 over 2009. For the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, a subgroup within Caricom, Anguilla and St. Lucia led the pack with double-digit increases.
The Dutch Caribbean showed a marginal increase in arrivals, dampened somewhat by Curacao’s 8% visitor drop over the first three quarters of 2010.
The Spanish-speaking Caribbean continued to experience positive growth in arrivals in excess of 6% on average, according to the CTO.
“Indications are that the fortunes of Caribbean tourism are gradually changing for the better but could take some time before experiencing robust, sustained growth,” Griffith said.