While most of the focus has been on the growth in Caribbean tourism last year and the countries that saw an increasing number of visitors, lost in the shuffle were those countries that saw far fewer tourists compared to 2015. Here are the six Caribbean countries that saw a drop in stop-over tourist arrivals in 2016 according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s latest ‘Performance of the Tourism Industry’ report:
According to the CTO’s data, the South American-based CARICOM nation of Suriname saw the biggest drop in tourist arrivals for 2016, compared to its neighbors. There was an almost 26 percent drop in arrivals to the country in 2016 in just one month alone with just 26,713 visitors reported. Data for 11 months were unavailable. However, data for the same period in 2015 showed there had been an increase, though small, in arrivals of around 2.6 percent.
Haiti, which has been beset by political turmoil, protests and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, saw a sharp decline in its tourist arrivals as well. The CTO research shows the country’s tourism sector, which has seen growth in the first four months of 2014 and in 2015, dropped dramatically to below 14 percent with just 141,957 stay over tourists for the first four months of 2016. Haiti also saw a drop in cruise arrivals in 2016, by over 9 percent.
The Dutch Caribbean territory of Aruba also saw a drop off in tourist arrivals in 2016. CTO data from the ‘Performance Of The Tourism Industry’ report showed the country’s tourist arrivals for the year declined by 10 percent, with just 1,101,954 stay over visitors. That’s compared to the almost 15 percent increase in arrivals Aruba had seen in 2015.
4: Trinidad & Tobago
The oil rich twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which spent another year battling with high crime rates, was the fourth Caribbean nation to see less tourists staying over last year. Researchers at the CTO found the Republic saw a decline by 7 percent of visitors staying over from 2015. That’s just 408,782 visitors between Jan. and Dec. 2016 compared to 439,749 for 2015, when the country saw a 6 percent growth over the previous year.
5: St. Kitts & Nevis
Also seeing a drop in arrivals for the first month of 2016 was the island of St. Kitts & Nevis. Last year, the country showed a decline in both stay over visitors and cruise ship arrivals for the first half of the year, the only data available. Some 21,196 tourists stayed over in the first month of 2016, a drop in the same period from 2015. St. Kitts, like Haiti and Curacao, also saw a drop off in cruise arrivals to 524,546 tourists between Jan. and June, 2016, a decline of over 7 percent according to the CTO analysis.
Curacao rounds out the number of Caribbean nations that saw a drop in tourism arrivals last year. The Dutch Caribbean island saw a 6 percent drop off in stay off arrivals for the 12 months of 2016, and an 11 plus percentage decline in cruise ship arrivals. Some 441,226 tourists visited and stayed over in Curacao in 2016 compared to 192,031 for the first five months of 2015 alone, and 471,327 cruise ship arrivals visited the island for the entire last year compared to 325,005 for the first four months of 2015.