Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 11th 2015 Contents JUNE 2015 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
REGIONAL | BG19
chairman Richard Sealy
says the Caribbean has
"bolted out of the
gates" with a six per
cent increase in visitor
arrivals in the first
quarter of the year, and predictions are that
while some countries will do better than
others the region will continue to perform
well overall and surpass its 2014 perform-
The Caribbean recorded a 17th straight
quarter of growth and the fifth consecutive
year of increased arrivals during the first
quarter, with 7.9 million visitors between
January and March.
At a press conference at Caribbean Week
New York yesterday, Sealy, who is Barbados
Minister of Tourism, said the region con-
tinues its rapid growth rate from 2014 when
arrivals grew by 5.3 per cent to 26.3 million
"We ve bolted out of the gates with a six
per cent increase in arrivals over the first
quarter of 2014, so I think it s fair to say
that we are well into recovery mode," he
The United States market continues to
be the most productive, with arrivals increas-
ing by 5.6 per cent.
The Canadian market grew an equally
impressive 5.4 per cent, with Cuba and
Dominican Republic among the destinations
recording higher levels of arrivals.
In the accommodation sector, perform-
ance indicators were positive.
There was a modest increase of 1.3 per
cent in the number room available in the
first quarter, the largest increase for this
quarter in the last seven years.
Historical first quarters highs were also
recorded for room occupancy (77.8 per cent),
average daily rate (US$239.84) and revenue
per available room (US$188.25).
However, cruise passenger arrivals slowed
in the first quarter. The Caribbean registered
a 3.4 per cent rise, compared to a 4.3 per
cent growth in 2014 over 2013. An estimated
8.6 million cruise passengers visited the
region in the first quarter.
The best performing destinations were
Martinique (34.2 per cent), Puerto Rico (26.2
per cent), Antigua & Barbuda (18.6 per cent)
and Jamaica (15.9 per cent).
Sealy said the outlook for the remainder
of the year is positive.
Although growth is expected to be mod-
erate and uneven among Caribbean coun-
tries, overall tourist arrivals are now antic-
ipated to rise at least six per cent over 2014.
Sealy noted that the momentum gained
in the first quarter could be reduced as cruise
ships are repositioned away from the region
to the other side of the Atlantic, as they
usually are towards the middle of the year.
"But overall, we can see that there is no
lack of tonnage being committed by the
cruise sector to the region. In fact, what we
are seeing is that with the larger vessels
there may be fewer calls but more passen-
gers. That is just a trend we are seeing with
all of the major cruise lines," he added.
Sealy said the CTO board of directors had
discussed how the Caribbean could build
on the gains and sustain them, and was
considering several initiatives including
trageting new markets, such as Brazil and
others in Latin America as well as Asia.
"There is a move on the part of the
Caribbean to look beyond our traditional
source markets," he said.
Meantime, addressing questions about
the impact the opening of Cuba to American
visitors would have on the tourism sector
in other parts of the region, Sealy said that
island, a member of the CTO, is "not a
problem for the CTO or the Caribbean."
AJamaican politician is urging players
in the Caribbean insurance industry
to develop innovative products that
will provide natural disaster protection
for critical sectors such as agriculture
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives
Lloyd B Smith made the appeal at the recently held
35th annual conference of the Insurance Association
of the Caribbean at the Hyatt Hotel in Montego Bay.
"We know that there are great risks in agricultural
insurance, but there is some work being done on
parametric insurance with the help of the multilaterals
and Caribbean governments," he noted.
"I urge you to join forces with them to find a
creative solution for even some limited amount of
insurance protection that will at least allow farmers
Unlike traditional indemnity insurance that covers
a policyholder s actual losses, parametric insurance
pays out in response to defined triggers such as a
Smith is also encouraging the region s insurers to
start looking at investment prospects from the soon-
to-be-established Logistics Hub.
"I urge you to take a closer look at the Logistics
Hub and get ready to take advantage of the oppor-
tunities it presents. Success in this area will depend,
to a large extent, on a series of public-private part-
nerships with the private sector leading the way and
the Government facilitating the process," he said.
Turning to efforts to establish an International
Financial Centre in Jamaica, Smith said Government
was making progress in creating the enabling legal
framework for the facility.
The critical pieces of legislation should be in place
by the end of 2015.
"The Jamaica International Financial Services
Authority is in place and is making plans to position
Jamaica as a niche player in this valuable business
area," Smith informed.
He noted that insurance and reinsurance services
are among the niche areas identified to be offered
when the facility is launched.
Establishment of the International Financial Services
Centre will transform Jamaica into an offshore financial
hub, similar to jurisdictions such as Bermuda and
the British Virgin Islands.
records 17th straight
quarter of growth
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