Report finds modest gains for Caribbean in summer season
By Gay Nagle Myers
Boom? Bust? Flat?
None of the above.
The summer travel season in the Caribbean indicates slow but steady growth as
the region continues its climb out of the
In most cases, air arrivals and cruise volume are posting modest gains over summer
2010. Occupancy rates in the Caribbean
through May averaged 69.5% vs. 66.1% in
the same five months of 2010, according to
Smith Travel Research.
Hotel revenues indicate small gains in
There was not much growth in average
daily rate in the Caribbean during the first
five months of the year — $181.66 compared with $180.74 — but revenue per
available room rose 5.8%, to $126.44.
Those indicators are expected to remain
steady through the fall.
Rather than heavily discount rates this
summer, resorts continue to add value to
packages in the form of free nights, breakfast, transfers and shopping deals.
Martinique’s Summer Spectacular, for
example, gives the sixth night free at 10
properties. American Eagle is offering 50%
discounts on fares from San Juan to the island.
Developers, meanwhile, are on the move.
There are 19 projects under construction
in the Caribbean, ranging from the Ritz-
Carlton in Aruba to the mega Baha Mar
complex in Nassau.
AVERAGE CARIBBEAN HOTEL OCCUPANCY RATES FROM JANUARY THROUGH MAY
Source: Smith Travel Research
I’ve booked are sold out,” she said. “More
people want to travel together in groups.”
She has noticed a reluctance to travel to
Mexico, both cruising and resort stays, due
to security concerns.
“This has moved some of those customers to travel to the southern Caribbean. The
safety concerns need to be addressed up
front,” Hangsbleden said.
Although Carnival’s deployment of the
Carnival Miracle on a year-round basis
from New York to Grand Bahama does
not take place until 2012, the Bahamas is
buoyed by the news.
“This will help the summer, typically a
slow part of the year for us,” said Carla Stuart, director of cruise development in the
Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism.
This summer, she said, “we’re doing pret-
ty well. We’re optimistic we can improve
our figures over last year.”
Aruba’s Canadian numbers are pushing
up its overall arrival numbers this year. U.S.
figures rose 2% through May, while Canada
posted an 18.7% jump.
“We see this trend continuing this summer but hope to recapture the U.S. market
this winter,” said Ronella Asjoe-Croes, CEO
of the Aruba Tourism Authority.
Aruba is moving to diversify its market
base and already is reaping results from Europe and Latin America in terms of lift and
“The North American [market] is 65%
of our total market, but we need new markets for balance,” she said.
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