CHTA President predicts rapid return of Caribbean tourism

Photo: ©Dmitry Travnikov/123rf

by Frank Martin

World tourism is full forecasts about the long-awaited recovery after the pandemic but with some doubts also.

The World Tourism Organization has already delivered a verdict: tourist arrivals will not return to pre-2019 pandemic levels before 2024.

Omicron as expected had a lot of attention on the agenda of the crucial Madrid universal meeting this month that generated a warning that it will inevitably disrupt in the recovery.

For specialists gathered at the meeting the untimely strain of the coronavirus is very contagious but mild.

According to the UN agency’s World Tourism Barometer, such Omicron disturbance will remain severe at the beginning of the current year, despite the fact that 2021 achieved a growth of 4% compared to 2020.

A statement issued last week by the World Health Organization is clear: “The pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across world regions due to varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and traveler confidence” the entity said in a press release.

The UNWTO referred among other issues to Europe and the Americas, where foreign visitor arrivals increased by 19% and 17%, respectively, last year compared to 2020, a reassuring result.

The UNWTO also explored specialized criteria and concluded that tourism professionals “see better prospects” for 2022 after the expected turbulence for the first months of the year due to the strong Omicron wave.

A positive forecast is that there will be a 30 to 78 percent increase in international arrivals this year over 2021, although it will remain well below 2019 levels.

But a majority view is that there will not be a return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2024.

Spain awaits that long-awaited a spring recovery will come soon.

That short waiting time is a relief after the setback that still Omicron cause.

However, Spain expects 2022 to be more than two-thirds below the record levels of 2019.

And what about the Caribbean?

The sea and sun region especially works hard against pandemic.

There have been no new closures and the islands are trying to adjust appropriate medical protocols for virus protection.

Cuba, the Dominican Republic and some more islands are in the lead.

But there are registered a high number of infected patients  as in the whole world.  That’s understandable because Omicron variant is five times more contagious than the delta.

The Caribbean looks for stop the pandemic as soon as possible with all kind on measures except general confinements that could prolong the agony of regional economies.

For this reason, all biosecurity measures are reinforced like the general use of face masks, frequent hand hygiene, social distancing and massive concentrations of people are avoided.