New resorts, extra flight capacity and interest in lesser-known islands is fuelling a resurgence in sales to the Caribbean.
Carol Hay, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s marketing director for the UK and Europe, said 2013 was already looking more positive than last year, when sales declined due to rising APD and the weak UK economy.
Seven new resorts are due to open across the Caribbean, and Hay said demand was growing for off-the-beaten-track destinations such as Montserrat, Curacao, Belize and Puerto Rico.
“This reveals the Caribbean has a wide potential customer base that includes not only families and honeymooners, but ‘wanderlusters’ and adventure seekers too,” she added.
Rendezvous Travel Group director Gabi Birbeck agreed. “Clients, especially single travellers, are turning to smaller, less touristy islands,” she said.Caribtours said forward bookings were more than 40% up year on year, with its new ‘affordable’ range also boosting sales.
Caribtours head of commercial Edward Light said: “It’s been a good few years since we have seen growth of this sort.
“Part of that is more confidence in the economic situation and job security.”
Hayes & Jarvis reported a shift from the mainstream Caribbean islands towards the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
The overall growth is reflected by capacity increases for next year by British Airways, which include extra flights to Saint Lucia, Antigua, Kingston, Punta Cana and Grenada from Gatwick.
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