Categorized | Local, News, Regional

Caribbean Gets More Tourists, Less Money

Although reports show that the number of travelers has risen this year as compared to last year and the year before, still the travel industry is not back to where it was a few years ago.  And everyone in the tourist and hospitality industries is suffering.  So the bump in travel this year has probably brought hope to many businesses throughout the world that thrive on tourist dollars.  Or has it?  The islands of the Caribbean, which showcase the gorgeous white-sand beaches, warm waters, and resort hotels that most travelers think of as the epitome of a vacation destination have certainly seen more tourists, but they’re reporting that the people arriving to soak up the sun simply don’t seem to be willing to pay for more.

Last year the islands of the Caribbean collectively received upwards of 23 million tourists during the winter season alone, a record-breaking number that they hope to beat this year.  But it doesn’t really matter if more people come if they’re not concurrently supporting local businesses.  Many attribute this strange disparity in numbers to the fact that more cruise ships are coming into port.  At least travelers that come by plane will book a hotel room and buy food.  Those that come by all-inclusive cruise get their room and board (including meals) on their floating home away from home.  They show up in port for a day, wander around (failing to make significant purchases) and then sail back out again, taking their money with them.

This likely has a lot to do with the general belt-tightening over the last few years.  Although people are finally taking the vacations they’ve been putting off because of the economic recession, they are well aware that the global economy is not back to normal, so they may not feel as free to spend as they did in years past.  While they’re perfectly willing to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and sunny climes (i.e. the free stuff) and even pay for food and lodgings, overall they’re probably going to be a bit more frugal when it comes to lavish and unnecessary expenditures (like entertainment and souvenirs, for example).

But perhaps the high cost of travel is to blame, as well.  Cruises may be a more appealing choice simply because they require only one booking and alleviate the worry of finding hotels, transportation, food, and so on.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still expensive.

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Although reports show that the number of travelers has risen this year as compared to last year and the year before, still the travel industry is not back to where it was a few years ago.  And everyone in the tourist and hospitality industries is suffering.  So the bump in travel this year has probably brought hope to many businesses throughout the world that thrive on tourist dollars.  Or has it?  The islands of the Caribbean, which showcase the gorgeous white-sand beaches, warm waters, and resort hotels that most travelers think of as the epitome of a vacation destination have certainly seen more tourists, but they’re reporting that the people arriving to soak up the sun simply don’t seem to be willing to pay for more.

Last year the islands of the Caribbean collectively received upwards of 23 million tourists during the winter season alone, a record-breaking number that they hope to beat this year.  But it doesn’t really matter if more people come if they’re not concurrently supporting local businesses.  Many attribute this strange disparity in numbers to the fact that more cruise ships are coming into port.  At least travelers that come by plane will book a hotel room and buy food.  Those that come by all-inclusive cruise get their room and board (including meals) on their floating home away from home.  They show up in port for a day, wander around (failing to make significant purchases) and then sail back out again, taking their money with them.

This likely has a lot to do with the general belt-tightening over the last few years.  Although people are finally taking the vacations they’ve been putting off because of the economic recession, they are well aware that the global economy is not back to normal, so they may not feel as free to spend as they did in years past.  While they’re perfectly willing to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and sunny climes (i.e. the free stuff) and even pay for food and lodgings, overall they’re probably going to be a bit more frugal when it comes to lavish and unnecessary expenditures (like entertainment and souvenirs, for example).

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But perhaps the high cost of travel is to blame, as well.  Cruises may be a more appealing choice simply because they require only one booking and alleviate the worry of finding hotels, transportation, food, and so on.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still expensive.