Four Hot Caribbean Destinations for Travel

Several Caribbean destinations have shared that 2022 was a banner year and that things are looking just as bright—if not more so—for 2023.

Here’s what we’ve learned…

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands welcomed 1,027,668 visitors in 2022 with 743,394 cruise passengers and 284,274 stayover visitors. The figures for both cruise and stayover visitation exceeded goals set by the Cayman Islands Government. (For 2022, the Department of Tourism set a goal of 200,000 stayover visitors, to achieve the Ministry of Tourism’s goal of 40 percent of 2019 tourism tax revenue, and a stretch goal of 256,000 visitors.)

There was a slow start in January with 5,864 stayover visitors but this increased rapidly month-on-month over the first half of the year, concurrent with the Cayman Islands Government’s phased approach to reopening the country by easing travel restrictions. All travel restrictions were lifted at the end of August and air arrivals soared. Visitation during the last quarter of 2023 average 89 percent of 2019’s numbers and for the full year, the Cayman Islands recorded 57 percent of 2019’s visitation numbers. At the end of year, stayover visitation exceeded the Department’s stretch goal by 11 percent.

Though the United States accounted for 80.8 percent of all stayover visitors, U.K. and Ireland was the fastest recovering market in 2022 reaching 77 percent of 2019’s visitation level. This was followed by Canada at 66 percent of 2019’s level with growth over 2019’s numbers recorded in July, October and December. Latin America was the third fastest recovering market reaching 60 percent of 2019’s visitation.

Repeat visitors to the islands represented 46.7 percent compared to 44.4 percent in 2019. Additionally, the average length of stay for visitors increased from 5.9 nights in 2019 to 7.6 nights in 2022. Based on data from STR, the average daily rate for hotels in the destination increased by 12 percent over 2019. 

Cruise ships returned to the Cayman Islands in March 2022, and by December 2022, the destination welcomed 743,394 cruise passengers on 261 ships.

For 2023, the destination has set an overall visitation goal of 70 percent of 2019’s numbers and Hon. Kenneth Bryan, minister of tourism and transport, is confident that the Cayman Islands will achieve this goal.


Coulibri Ridge
Coulibri Ridge  (Photo by Coulibri Ridge)

Discover Dominica, the tourism office for the island of Dominica, has reported a significant increase in 2022 tourism arrival numbers, projecting even stronger growth in 2023.

The destination welcomed 60,704 visitors in 2022 compared to 14,888 in 2021, an increase of more than 308 percent. The uptick can be attributed to a few key factors, including an increase post-pandemic travel demand, relaxed COVID protocols and the island’s first direct flight from the U.S.

Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic when demand for new travel experiences and outdoor adventures were at an all-time high, the island had much to celebrate. From the opening of Coulibri Ridge, a luxury resort that is completely self-sufficient, to the record numbers of attendees at the first in-person World Creole Music Festival since the pandemic, the island saw a plenty of interest among repeat and new visitors to the island.

December 2022 marked the first anniversary of American Airlines’ nonstop service to Dominica from Miami International Airport. The first commercial service to the island from the U.S, the addition of the flight has made the island more accessible than ever before. As of November 2022, the American Airlines’ service contributed nearly 33 percent of all carrier contributions to the island. Service will continue throughout 2023 with changes to the schedule and frequency.


Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Johnny/iStock/Getty Images Plus Getty Images)

On the heels of the island’s strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the forecast for 2023 is that the destination is on track to achieve 11 percent growth. Gross foreign exchange earnings for the destination for the 2023 calendar year are also forecasted to reach $4.12 billion, an estimated 13.3 percent increase on the previous year’s earnings.

The projected growth is based on the island’s primary markets registering growth over the previous period, with the U.S. showing steady growth of 7 percent, Canada strengthening its position to deliver 38.7 percent growth and U.K./Europe primarily demonstrating growth of 5.3 percent through the Eastern European markets.

Last year, Jamaica welcomed 3.3million visitors and registered a remarkable recovery of earnings compared to pre-COVID earnings of 2019, with total estimated revenue of $3.64 billion. As the destination recovery has outpaced earlier projections there is a high possibility that full recovery could be realized a year earlier than predicted.

Puerto Rico

I Heart Puerto Rico sign outside the Puerto Rico Convention Center
The Puerto Rico Convention Center  (Photo by Matt Turner)

Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s official destination marketing organization, recently shared details on 2022’s record-breaking, success story. On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, Puerto Rico reported peaks in incoming travelers, record revenues and more local tourism employees than ever before in its history.  

Contributing to the island’s tourism successes in 2022 were more than 5.1 million passengers arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, a 6.5 percent increase from 2021, which helped create approximately $8.9 billion in revenue generated by travel and tourism, a 39 percent increase over the previous high in 2019.

The Island now employs more than 91,500 individuals in travel and tourism-related jobs, the highest ever. Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector in Puerto Rico has increased by 12.8 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, while employment numbers in the U.S. remain 4 percent below when considering the same period.

Booked group room nights in 2022 doubled those from 2021, and the number of events currently booked for 2023 are 81 percent higher versus the same time last year. Even more encouraging, the number of prospective room nights for 2023 and beyond topped 1 million nights for a 35 percent increase over 2021. 

The island also experienced a record-breaking fourth quarter, despite Hurricane Fiona’s passing through Puerto Rico in September 2022. The industry saw lodging demand for the last three months of the year 7 percent higher than the previous highs in 2021 and 31 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels. Post-hurricane perception studies showed that 76 percent of respondents indicated that the storm had no impact on their travel plans. In addition, likelihood to visit Puerto Rico in the next 12 months has grown to 22 percent, as of late 2022.  

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