The Caribbean suffered a double whammy in 2017: first from a pair of hurricanes that cut destructive paths through the region and cost the region an estimated 800,000 visitors, and then what Caribbean Tourism Organization Secretary General Hugh Riley calls an “image disaster” - the widely held perception that the entire Caribbean was devastated by the storms.
Karen Whitt, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for The Hartling Group (The Sands, The Palms, The Shore Club) took a moment from her busy life on the beautiful island of Turks and Caicos to shine some light on visiting the destination.
Sargassum, once almost exclusively the bane of seafarers, has grown into a major headache for resort destinations from the Caribbean to Mexico, to South Florida, fouling beaches with stinking, rotting masses of seaweed. Unfortunately, “What’s your seaweed situation?” needs to be added to the list of questions agents ask of resorts in the region before booking stays
This past June, the International Travel Partners Conference 2018 was held on Nassau, Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Through increased and strategic marketing set forth by the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, the Bahamas has become the “new pace setter” of the Caribbean. The NPIPB announced that it has seen an 18% surge in stopover visitors in the first quarter of 2018, effectively “the fastest rate of growth of the region.” The goal for 2018-2019 is to remain on this track with the expectation of reaching their goal of 300,000 incremental visitors. To achieve this goal, they plan to promote the core tourism motivators of the region to beach lovers, casino goers, as well as wedding and honeymooners. They also seek to reach new visitors to the region and attract return visitors by driving home the message of the re-birth of “The New Nassau Paradise Island” with the revelation that this is not the same Bahamas of 20 years ago.
In a world where people are looking for ways to be environmentally responsible, many have recognized how their vacation can have a big impact, from hotel choice to where they shop and what activities they choose. Antigua, like many other Caribbean destinations, has taken a while to find its footing in sustainable tourism but is making progress towards meeting its goals of aligning with international sustainability standards. JAX FAX has found the island’s top eco-friendly activities and businesses as well as the best spots for nature-lovers to visit.
Increasing numbers of clients are looking for a unique travel experience instead of the predictable beach vacation in-a-box. The Dominican Republic is a great place for fledgling explorers to start, thanks to its affordability, enthusiastic tourism industry, and diverse landscape. For those who may want to just dip their toes in to venturing beyond the resort walls, there are plenty of places that can be visited via day trip from the popular beach towns.
The top selling points of all-inclusive resorts and packages are their guarantee that clients can stay on-budget with no surprises, and the stress-free knowledge that the planning has been done for them. This is especially appealing to families, who know that the kids’ appetites can quickly eat up the dining budget and the cost of activities adds up all too quickly. Caribbean vacations are an especially good choice for families who want to introduce their kids to travel within the safety of an established resort.
Flying into San Juan, Puerto Rico the average observer would be challenged to find any evidence of the hurricanes that ravaged this island and many others last fall. That is, except for the plethora of roofs covered by blue tarps. These are colorful reminders of the residual affect the storms had on life here.
8 tips and news to help your clients tie the knot in the Caribbean
Looking to help your clients plan a wedding in the Caribbean? What are some of the benefits of a destination wedding? Should couples visit the island before the big day? How many days should they plan to stay? We reached out to experts in the Caribbean to gather useful tips and insider news to share. Here is what they have to say-
Much of the Caribbean is back open for business. After damage from two back-to-back hurricanes four months ago, many destinations are reporting that they are ready to welcome tourists with open arms. Many travelers seem to have the impression that the entire region was destroyed, but these islands want tourists to know that this is not true. Tourism plays a large part in recovery, bringing revenue to the region, and providing employment for residents. They encourage people to come and see for themselves. There is still some residual damage and recovery efforts continue, but the beaches are still beautiful, and the people always warm and welcoming.