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The Caribbean in 2019: tourist numbers are up and it’s carnival almost every day

Cuba: European wanderlust subsides – cruise market increases significantly

Cuba’s boom in tourism is slowing. In 2018, the number of overnight guests decreased for the first time in a while. Yet the Caribbean’s largest island is expecting a good year in 2019, especially because last year’s autumn clearly pointed in a positive direction. According to assessments by exhibitors and trade visitors at the Cuba stand at ITB Berlin, additional price reductions, particularly in hotels, could bring in a significant increase this year.

Cuba: Despite obstacles to tourism the race to achieve records continues

2017 was another record year for Cuba. The number of visitors from the US more than doubled. However, according to organisers and exhibitors on the stand of Cuba in Hall 22a at ITB Berlin, the effects of travel restrictions imposed by the US government last November are now beginning to be felt.

State representatives from Havana expressed their satisfaction that neither damage from Hurricane Irma nor the latest additional restrictions from Washington were able to stop the success of tourism on the island last year.

Latin America: A different sort of cruise destination

Mexiko-Stand, ITB Berlin 2017

Latin America is becoming an increasingly popular cruise destination, but never a high volume destination for this market. Those who have taken a ship to the Galapagos or the Amazon, who have undertaken an expedition to Chile or Argentina, traversed the Panama Canal or tied up in Havana and Cartagena are primarily interested in the destination. Encounters with the locals, history, nature in its purest form, and real life are all important, but there is no call for a fancy programme of on-board activities.

"Cuba si" – But the upsurge in visitor numbers has slowed down

Auto in Havana, Cuba

Cuba has been racing from one record to another, but there is a limit to everything. Following the massive boom in tourism that accompanied the thaw in political relations with the USA two years ago, growth has now slowed down. After recording 3.5 million visitors in 2015 and 4.035 million in 2016, the Tourism Ministry in Havana is expecting some 4.2 million from all over the world in 2017. Compared with the double-digit expansion of the previous years this would represent just a five per cent increase, it was reported on the Cuba stand in Hall 22a at ITB Berlin.

Boom in Caribbean tourism continues – More than just sand and palm trees

The Caribbean is more popular than ever, and not just because of its beautiful beaches and coconut palms, but also because it offers authenticity, that 'hammock' feeling, home stays, reggae, calypso, rum, fine cigars and carnival, the latter also in July and December on some islands.

Speaking shortly before the start of ITB Berlin, Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), stated: "Our guests are increasingly interested in the culture of the more than 30 islands, the people, their music, local handicrafts and Caribbean cooking."