Caribbean cruising to positive year
Caribbean cruise arrivals are due to increase 3% this year as more ships are deployed in the area.
While ships are said to be sailing to islands closer to the US, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) said it expects the industry to increase this year off the back of new ships launching in the area.
Norwegian Getaway started its Caribbean cruises this weekend with Royal Caribbean and Carnival amongst other cruise lines introducing new itineraries in the region.
However Winfield Griffith, director of research & IT at CTO said that itinerary switching by cruise lines is having a ‘zero sum’ effect on destinations by directly taking passengers from destinations that are not on itineraries to those that are – and therefore impacting each islands tourism count.
As a result Grenada saw a near 22% drop in cruise visits in 2013 while Curacao saw more than 45% more passengers.
Overall the region saw a 2.8% rise in cruise passengers with 22 million people visiting by cruise ship.
“Twice as many destinations recorded increased activity last year when compared to 2012. However, destinations farthest from the US struggle to find more cruise business,” said Griffith. “Still, our numbers suggest that the summer months of 2013 were the best ever for summer cruising in the Caribbean.”