The Caribbean is more popular than ever, and not just because of its beautiful beaches and coconut palms, but also because it offers authenticity, that ‘hammock’ feeling, home stays, reggae, calypso, rum, fine cigars and carnival, the latter also in July and December on some islands.
Speaking shortly before the start of ITB Berlin, Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), stated: “Our guests are increasingly interested in the culture of the more than 30 islands, the people, their music, local handicrafts and Caribbean cooking.”
According to UNWTO, in 2015 the archipelago welcomed more than 23.832 million tourists, a 7.4 per cent increase. In addition to the larger destinations such as the Dominican Republic (+8.9 %) and Cuba (+17.3), some of the smaller islands also benefitted, including Aruba (+15.2), Barbados (+14.5), Trinidad and Tobago (+7.5) and St. Kitts and Nevis (+7.3).
Most visitors to the Caribbean still come from the USA, of course, but the islands are again a “booming destination” for Germany too, the CTO reported at ITB Berlin. In 2015 unprecedented numbers of Germans visited the islands. Last year more than 805,000 passengers flew to the Caribbean from German airports. “That is an eight per cent increase over the previous year.”
According to the CTO, since 2009 the number of visitors from Germany has risen by over 56 per cent to more than 800,000. This is roughly the level they were at 20 years ago, when intense competition for a share of the market led in some cases to some rock bottom prices and massive demand in Germany.