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Message by Hugh Riley
Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization
on the observance of Caribbean Tourism Month
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 1 Nov 2017. This year can be described as a tale of two situations for Caribbean tourism. During the first half of this year the region performed at new record pace, welcoming 16.6 million international tourist arrivals at a healthy growth rate of 5.2 per cent, when compared to the same period last year.
However, hurricanes Irma and Maria have dented this growth, with the revised forecast for 2017 now at one to two per cent, down from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent.
The economic impact of the storms is significant. The Caribbean Development Bank predicts that every one per cent reduction in tourist arrivals (based on 2015 travel data) will cost US$137 million in lost revenue.
No doubt, the hurricanes have presented us with some major challenges, but we are determined to rebuild better and more sustainably.
In the meantime, while the affected countries are at various stages on the road back to normality, it is also important to note that over 75 per cent of the region was unscathed by the storms. In this context, we encourage you to keep visiting the Caribbean, as this is the best way to help the region.
During Caribbean Tourism Month we will focus on adventure, in keeping with the Year of Adventure. Mindful of the impact of the storms, there are still countless travel adventures to be had this month and for the remainder of the year.
We look forward to hearing of the various events and activities planned for the month, and with your permission, we will share your information and images. .
The month also provides an opportunity to reiterate the message that we are open for business and we do have an exciting product to offer.
Yes, some challenges remain and those are being addressed, but let’s also emphasize the superb experiences we can offer to guests right now and help them and their companions have a Caribbean adventure to remember.
Together, let’s keep the right focus on this important industry and reaffirm the value of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.