Iconic beaches reach historic record number of visitors

If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, you’re not alone. The area racked up huge tourism numbers in 2022, hitting records for beach paradises in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Even more travel to the area is expected in 2023.

Tourism in the Caribbean rebounded in 2022 after the pandemic, reaching historic numbers of visitors to the most famous Mexican beaches, such as Cancun; along with those of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In Colombia, recovery has been almost complete, but Cuba is lagging behind.

In Mexico, a country that concentrates almost half of the international tourism in Latin America, according to Statista and Latinometrics, Quintana Roo had a record of more than 30 million arrivals at the Cancun airport, according to the State Government.

“We closed with a total of 19.7 million tourists. These were people who stayed overnight in our hotels, and here we are adding national tourists and international tourists,” detailed Javier Aranda, director of the Tourism Promotion Council of the state of Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located, which captures about 47.5% of international tourism in Mexico.

Mexico consolidated its position as the third most visited country in the world during the first year of the covid-19 pandemic in the absence of restrictions, but Aranda said that many are now “repeat” tourists.

“These tourists, although they have the opportunity to go to other places, have already known the delights of enjoying the different destinations of Quintana Roo and that gives us a great advantage because they want to returnLas playas más emblemáticas alcanzan un récord histórico de visitantes to learn more,” said Aranda.

The official explained that there are now almost 127,000 hotel rooms, as investment has been recovered.

“There were more than 235 restaurants with investments of more than one million dollars in the Mexican Caribbean, from Chetumal to Holbox,” added Marcy Bezaleel Pacheco, state president of the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Seasoned Food Industry (Canirac).

Dominican Republic received historic number of tourists in 2022

In the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Tourism registered 7.1 million tourists by air and 1.3 million by cruise ships, surpassing the pre-pandemic level and reaching record figures in 2022, the year in which the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recognized the country for its “exemplary” tourism recovery.

According to the entity, visitors generated a record $8,671 million dollars to the country last year, with a 10% growth compared to 2019 in tourist arrivals by air and 20% in cruises.

Speaking to EFE, Andres Marranzini, executive vice president of the National Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Dominican Republic (Asonahores), explained that the Dominican hotel sector closed 2022 with national occupancy averaging over 75%.

“It is a very good occupancy. During all the months we received more tourists than we did pre-pandemic,” he said.

Before the pandemic, “we were close to 70%, but never in the figures we experienced in 2022,” he added.

In December, the number of visitors surpassed 700,000, a figure that constitutes “a milestone”, with an average of 400,000 travelers per month in 2022.

Puerto Rico also records very high tourism

The tourism sector in Puerto Rico had a record high in 2022, both in jobs in the industry (more than 91,000) and in lodging revenues ($1.6 billion) and passengers at its international airport (more than 10 million).

“We had a very good year in 2022, it surpassed 2021, which had so far been the best year in Puerto Rico’s history in terms of tourism,” Ricardo Cortés, director of Public Affairs at the official tourism promotion organization Discover Puerto Rico, told EFE.

Cortés stressed that the industry “is growing and expanding and is showing very healthy numbers for the local economy”.

He listed as “milestones” the 14.6% growth in employment versus 2019, and the $1.6 billion in revenue in the local lodging industry, almost double what it was six years ago.

Tourism in Colombia is almost recovered

Tourism in Colombia is almost recovered after the pandemic, with more than 3.5 million international travelers between January and October 2022, a growth of 145.2% compared to the same period last year, according to Migración de Colombia.

Compared to the same months of 2019, the year prior to the pandemic, the figures represent a 98.6% recovery.

The mecca of Colombian tourism continues to be Cartagena de Indias, a sun and beach destination that, in addition to its attractive colonial buildings, also became the “Leading Honeymoon Destination in South America 2022,” a recognition received at the World Travel Awards 2022, known as the “Oscars of Tourism.”

“When you arrive in Cartagena, you really breathe love, the city is very romantic, it is a wonderful setting, it has a special color. The Caribbean sunsets give it a touch that seduces couples a lot,” Natalia Bohórquez, executive president of the Cartagena de Indias Tourism Corporation, told EFE at the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) in Madrid.

Cuba still lags behind in tourism

Cuba aspires to reach 3.5 million tourists by 2023, still far from the 5 million reached before the pandemic.

The island faces this key challenge for its economic recovery, as tourism is the second largest contributor to gross domestic product (GDP) and the third largest source of foreign exchange, having fallen short of its target of 1.7 million in 2022.

However, José Luis Perelló, professor at the University of Havana and tourism expert, considered in an interview to EFE that “it is not possible” to reach 3.5 million, so his estimate for this year is about 2.3 million.

He explained that part of Cuba’s problems in recovering pre-2020 levels are the U.S. sanctions and the ruling in that country against the main international cruise companies that call on Havana.

Perelló also defended the state investment in new luxury and high-capacity hotels, while independent studies estimate that the current occupancy rate is well below 50%.

Source: Biobiochile.cl

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