During Travel Agent's ongoing coverage of the Caribbean Tourism Organization's (CTO) State of the Industry Conference, we learned that air travel to the Caribbean has seen a dramatic increase despite the ongoing economy woes, according to CTO Chairman Sen. Ricky Skerritt.
In his opening remarks for the first full day of the conference, Skerritt says, "I am pleased to be able to remind you this morning that, after the major decline registered in 2009, and the continued challenges of 2010, the 2011 year-over –year visitor arrivals from North America and the UK to our region reflects a solid across the board increase. It appears that travel is recovering from the uncertainty of an economically challenged and evolving market, and our region is showing that we can embrace change and even thrive in the new more competitive environment. We can therefore be optimistic about the outlook for our industry while we continue to work to protect and promote our destinations and the Caribbean brand."
Skerritt began by addressing the recent 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, "which ushered in a decade of dramatic changes for the airline and travel industries."
"Costly travel security requirements and additional taxes on travel to pay for those requirements were imposed, causing serious inflationary pressure on airline tickets everywhere," he says. "Steadily increasing fuel costs have made a bad situation worse and new passport requirements for US citizen re-entry into the US changed the market dynamics dramatically for the Caribbean by removing one of our long-standing comparative advantages in the U.S. market.
"Despite the immediate and lasting socioeconomic dent made to Caribbean destinations following 9/11, we have proven that our region is resilient, adaptable and still extremely desirable for destination travelers."
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates on the State of the Industry Conference.