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This Tiny Island Is Experiencing The Highest Tourism Growth In The Caribbean

Recent data provided by analytics firm ForwardKeys shows that tourism in Aruba has increased by 20% in the first semester of 2024, the fastest growth of any Caribbean destination, say experts.   

A significant part of this success is owed to traditional tourism markets like North America and emerging ones like South America.

Last year, Aruba welcomed 1.2 million travelers, up 13% from 2023, according to the ATA.

In January alone, Aruba had 117,172 visitors, including 73,784 Americans, up 18% from the previous year.

From January to May, the Dutch island saw 111,180 visitors, a jump of 18.7% compared to the same timeframe in 2023, the best year in history.

Americans love to come to “the One Happy Island” because it’s close to the US and safer than other Caribbean destinations.

The two other main factors contributing to Aruba’s extraordinarily positive tourism numbers include the low arrival of sargassum and its privileged location away from the Caribbean hurricane belt.

Unfortunately, the amount of sargassum arriving in a given country is now a factor to watch out for when planning a Caribbean getaway.

Although sargassum is wreaking havoc across the region, not all of Aruba’s beaches receive algae, making it one of the cleanest destinations sargassum-wise.

Another element travelers are considering is the hurricane season

In May, the US issued a hurricane season alert for seven Caribbean countries, including Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia and Barbados.

Aruba was not one of them. According to official data, 2024 will see the worst hurricane season in the last 20 years, with up to 23 occurrences. 

But Aruba is not the only Caribbean destination experiencing positive tourism growth.

With 33.2 million travelers combined in 2023, virtually all Caribbean countries have rebounded from the tourism catastrophe created by the pandemic. Let’s check out some figures.

Jamaica: In January and February alone, the country received $1 billion in tourism revenue, “a record that had never happened in the history of Jamaica.

Saint Lucia: Stay-over arrivals increased by 11.3% in the first quarter, breaking all previous records.

Turks & Caicos: Arrivals have increased by 227% since 2019. 

Belize: This Central American country has had a 30 percent increase in visitors so far in 2024, becoming one of “the fastest growth rates of any destination” in the area. 

Dominican Republic: From January to April, the D.R. had a 10% increase in air visitors and a 15% jump in cruise passengers, breaking all records set in history.

Cancun: With 8.21 million travelers from January to April, Cancun had a 6% increase in visitors, setting a new record.

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