Caribbean destinations must work more closely with their neighbours and encourage greater collaboration with source markets to “build resilience to market shocks”, tourism chief Frank Comito has said.
His admissions come amid a marked slump in forward bookings for the first quarter of 2020 according to analysis by global flight data specialist ForwardKeys, which found Q1 bookings lagging 3.6% behind where they were 12 months ago.
Q1 bookings from the UK specifically are nearly 11% behind year-on-year – the most severe decline from the region’s five most important source markets.
US bookings are 7.2% behind and Argentina 5.8%, although bookings from France and Canada are both ahead of where they were in Q1 2019, up 1.9% and 8.9% respectively.
“The outlook is challenging,” said ForwardKeys, albeit coming after its latest analysis found tourism to the Caribbean grew 4.4% last year, in line with worldwide tourism growth.
This increase was driven by a 6.5% increase in bookings from the US, the Caribbean’s most important market accounting for 53% of visitors, and 12.2% increase in bookings from Canada.
The Dominican Republic continues to lead the way for Caribbean tourism numbers, claiming 29% of visitor share, followed by Jamaica (12%), Cuba (11%) and the Bahamas (7%).