USA

These 3 Tiny Caribbean Islands Are Breaking Tourism Records In 2024

The allure of unspoiled beaches, turquoise waters and Caribbean culture is drawing millions of vacationers and business travelers to the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), according to a recent report.

Data provided by analytics firm ForwardKeys and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Organization shows that arrivals to the islands have jumped a staggering 18 percent so far in 2024, positioning itself as one of the fastest-growing territories.

In 2023, the USVI shared economy industry saw an impressive $343.4 million in revenue. 

The average hotel occupancy rate (ADR) outpaces regional competitors with $463.23 per night, compared to $318.81 regionally. Additionally, the islands’ Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) keeps surpassing regional standards.

These rather positive results are not the result of chance. Part of this is due to a careful business plan and an expanded marketing effort. 

Some areas the Department of Tourism has straightened ties with in recent years include sports, U.S. mainland air carriers, and the cruise industry.

Regarding sports, the territory has partnered with relevant national teams such as the New York Jets, Chicago Cubs, Klutch Sports Group and Boston Red Sox. 

This strategy, combined with public events like carnivals, has allowed an increase of up to 21 percent in arrivals compared to pre-pandemic figures.

Concerning connectivity, the USVI has increased seat capacity to 23% from the mainland to St. Croix and 21% to St. Thomas. It has also been working on adding more flights from Canada, and Europe. Other key markets they plan to expand into include Denmark and Italy. 

The already powerful USVI cruise industry has partnered with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) to multiply cruise calls and offer new experiences to international customers.

The cruise business expects to see an 80% rise through 2024, with some 650,000 new passengers. 

Among other things, tourism infrastructure has seen significant investments over the last few years.

In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the government intensified efforts to enhance its offerings, including eco-friendly resorts and brand-new cruise facilities.

According to the government, the thriving tourism sector is being fueled by the territory’s natural beauty, strong investment and aggressive marketing campaigns. 

The USVI is not the only Caribbean destination showing remarkable tourism growth.

Industry leaders at the annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace recently in Jamaica revealed that all Caribbean destinations combined received 33.2 million travelers in 2023, up 14.3 percent compared to the previous year.

Other destinations breaking arrival and revenue records include Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Belize, the Dominican Republic and Cancun in Mexico.

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