The Caribbean is being urged to make a more significant impact by aggressively tapping into the flourishing Canadian market, as that country’s citizens shy away from its closest neighbours, the United States (US).
According to data released by the Canadian Tourism Research Institute, half of Canadians and 37 per cent of likely visitors to the US reported that the Trump presidency will negatively impact their travel plans.
The news comes as the region experiences an increase in the number of Canadian visitors choosing to vacation here. Of the number of islands frequented by them, only five have seen a reduction in arrivals - Cuba, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos, The Bahamas and St Maarten.
Even with Cuba’s reduction of 5.2 per cent, the island remains the most popular destination for their citizens. Some 1.4 million Canadians visited the Spanish-speaking country between January and July 2017, while the Dominican Republic welcomed 827,000 and Jamaica, 512,000. Both countries have seen an increase of 8.5 per cent and 1.4 per cent in stopover arrivals respectively.
Addressing delegates at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO), State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC 2017) now on in Grenada, Jennifer Hendry, senior research associate at the institute, said travellers from Quebec are the most ambivalent; while British Colombia and Ontario residents are least likely to vacation stateside while Donald Trump is president of the US.
She said the likelihood of the negative impact to travel to the US decreases with age.
Optimistic about the outlook for the region, Hendry said arrivals estimated to recover this year, with the forecast for 2017-2021 at a 2.2 per cent average annual rate of growth.
She was cautious about the effects of the recent hurricanes, but said she expected the overall impact on the upcoming travel season to be minimal.
JAMAICA: #SOTIC2017 | Caribbean urged to pull in Canadians avoiding Trump
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