According to Sedetur, the Department of Tourism of the state of Quintana Roo, the hotels in both Riviera Maya and Cancun/Puerto Morelos saw a drop in average hotel room occupancy in September 2018 compared to September 2017.
The hotels in Riviera Maya saw their average room occupancy drop from 70.3% in September 2017 to 62.3% in September this year while the hotels in Cancun/Puerto Morelos saw their average room occupancies fall from 65.2% in September 2017 to 61.4% in September 2018.
Through the first nine months of 2018 the hotels in Riviera Maya have achieved an average room occupancy of 81.7% while those in Cancun/Puerto Morelos have achieved an 81.3% average room occupancy.
Riviera Maya has 46,958 hotel rooms while the Cancun/Puerto Morelos area has 40,835 hotel rooms.
According to the Curaçao Tourist Board, Curaçao saw a 19.4% increase in stopover visitor arrivals in August, growing from 30,863 stopovers in August 2017 to 36,861 this year. Stopover visitors from the USA grew by 43.2%, from 4,729 in September 2017 to 6,793 in August 2018.
In the first eight months of 2018 Curaçao has seen a 5.7% increase in the number of stopover visitors, growing from 262,066 in 2017 to 277,078 this year. The number of stopovers from the USA has grown by 19.2% during the first eight months, from 41,094 in 2017 to 48,970 through August 2018.
The number of cruise visitors fell 31.5% in August, from 45,379 in August 2017 to 31,101 this year. Through the first eight months of 2018 the number of cruise visitors to Curaçao grew by 22.7%, from 385,841 visitors in 2017 to 473,279 this year.
by Matt Turner | Travel Agent Central Oct 25, 2018
Earlier this month, at the Caribbean Tourism Organization State of the Tourism Industry Conference at Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, secretary general Hugh Riley spoke about the Caribbean as a tourist destination in the wake of last year’s hurricanes.
“It has been a tale of two situations,” Riley said. “On the one hand, we have robust growth in countries that were not affected by last year’s hurricanes. On the other, we have seen dramatic decreases in arrivals to those hit by the storms, although the performances of these countries are steadily improving.”
Of the 22 reporting destinations, 13 registered increases in tourist arrivals during the first half of the year, ranging from 1.7 percent to 18.3, while seven recorded decreases of between a negligible -0.3 percent and 71 percent.
The top performing islands during this period were the Cayman Islands at 15.9 percent, Grenada at 10.7 percent and the Bahamas at 10.2 percent. (In the entire Caribbean, Guyana at 18.3 percent and Belize at 17.1 percent saw the most growth.)
Riley added that the performances of key source markets varied considerably, with some destinations recording strong growth, while others showed declines. For example: From the U.S. market, while Jamaica (8.4 percent), the Dominican Republic (6.3 percent) and 11 other destinations saw growth (six of which by double digits), there was a 54.6 percent decrease in arrivals to Puerto Rico, and Cuba also saw a drastic drop.
Overall, the Caribbean received seven million visits from the U.S. during the first half of this year but, ultimately, it equated to a 15.8 percent decrease when compared to the same period last year.
On the other hand, there was a new record in arrivals from Canada for this time of year, with 2.4 million overnight international tourists, representing a 4.7 percent increase from 2017. Arrivals from Europe also increased, though marginally at 0.3 percent, with three million tourists visiting the Caribbean during the first half of the year.
There was also a marginal decline of 0.5 percent in cruise visits, although there are signs of improvement, Riley said. Of the 23 reporting destinations, 15 saw improvement upon their 2017 performances with Trinidad & Tobago registering an increase of 166 percent, St. Vincent & the Grenadines by 84 percent and Martinique at 54.7 percent.
However, this was countered by declines of nearly 90 percent in the British Virgin Islands, Dominica by 88.4 percent, St. Maarten by 27.5 percent and the U.S. Virgin Islands by 22.5 percent. Puerto Rico, though hurricane-impacted, posted a 1.1 percent increase during the period.
“The region’s competitive advantages of a diverse tourism product and safety and security are still intact,” Riley said.” Destinations are rebuilding, and new tourism products and services are being restored daily in the destinations impacted by last year’s hurricanes.”
He concluded that the CTO’s research department anticipates an overall decline of between three and four percent this year, but predicts a 4.3 percent increase next year. As for cruise, it is projected to grow by five per cent to six percent this year.
Tourism leaders in The Bahamas don’t believe enough cruise ship passengers are getting off the big boats and spending money in locally owned businesses, a Nassau newspaper reported.
The Nassau Guardian last week quoted Bahamas Minister of Tourism John Dionisio D’Aguilar saying the government used to pay the cruise lines $12 million a year in incentives to dock at the country’s ports.
But not anymore, the story said.
“In the past we used to provide incentives for cruise passengers to come here,” D’Aguilar was quoted as saying. “But to be quite honest with you, we were paying for a lot of people who didn’t come off the boat.”
So those incentives have been eliminated, and the country now plans to invest in improvements to make tourists want to visit. Future incentives, if any are offered, would be in the form of rebates tied to how many passengers leave the ships while docked in the islands, the story said.
D’Aguilar suggested the cruise lines don’t really need the money the government used to pay them.
“The cruise companies are very, very profitable,” the Guardian reported D’Aguilar saying. “They make a lot of money. Why are we paying them to bring cruise passengers to our port, and then we’re finding that some of them are not coming off?
“So why are we giving incentives for people to come to Nassau and sit on the boat, eat their food and not spend money in our country?”
Recent studies, however, indicate that cruisers are disembarking in The Bahamas and they do spend money there, even if it’s not as much as the government would like.
According to research by the Miramar-based Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, a nonprofit trade group composed of 18 member cruise lines, The Bahamas welcomed the largest number of passenger shore visits — 2.94 million — out of 35 Caribbean and U.S. destinations in the region in 2014-15, the most recent year for which data was available.
But the country ranked fourth in total expenditures ($244 million) during those visits — behind St. Maarten ($355 million), Cozumel, Mexico ($304 million), and the U.S. Virgin Islands ($276 million). Meanwhile, The Bahamas ranked 16th in average expenditure per passenger, $83, compared with top-ranked St. Maarten, where visitors spent an average $191.
Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of the consumer-focused CruiseCritic.com review site, said user reviews of port visits in Nassau are “a mixed bag” on the site.
“Some cruisers enjoy the stop and take advantage of local beaches, shopping and [the] Atlantis [resort],” she said by email. “Others don’t have as favorable of an experience while in port and compared to other ports in the region, Nassau comes out lower in terms of ratings from visitors.”
Among the most common complaints by users who report negative experiences onshore is a feeling of being “a bit bombarded by vendors in port,” she said.
When cruisers choose to stay on their ship, it’s often because they’ve already visited the port, she said. “What we hear from cruisers is that Nassau is a port many have experienced before — so if there aren’t many new improvements of new features in port, some cruisers don’t find the need to disembark and explore the island again.”
Travel website Cruiseradio.net said anyone who reads online message boards should not be surprised that many passengers prefer to stay on the ship.
On the message boards, “people often complain about everything from the lack of interesting things to do in Nassau to the virtual army of cab drivers and vendors one must fight past in order to get anywhere,” cruiseradio.net said.
D’Aguilar acknowledged that The Bahamas has to try harder. “God has geographically blessed The Bahamas” because it’s the closest destination port to the largest ports in the world in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Cape Canaveral, he said in The Guardian, adding, “We just have to make it a wonderful place for them to visit and make it memorable so that they want to come back here and it refreshes itself.”
The government is soliciting proposals to redevelop and manage Prince George Dock in Nassau — a project that would take two years after a development team is selected. That project should entice more businesses to offer better goods, excursions, and food and beverage options to cruise passengers, who would respond by spending more money in the port, D’Aguilar told the paper.
The vacation giant Corendon recently announced an 87 million dollar investment in the Veneto Hotel (previously The Holiday Beach with 220 rooms). This hotel will be completely transformed into a five-star hotel with 800+ rooms. Corendon recently acquired the hotel together with the casino and the restaurant. The company also announced that the Livingstone Jan Thiel Hotel will be expanded from 204 rooms to 320 rooms.
As well, Corendon Dutch Airlines plans to station one 189 seat Boeing 737-800 in Curaçao over the winter of 2018/19 to boost services to the Caribbean and Brazil.
The Boeing 737-800 flies from Curaçao from mid-December to the islands of Aruba and Sint Maarten and to Sao Paulo in Brazil. Corendon Dutch Airlines does not sell tickets itself but carries out the flights on behalf of Curaçao-based Divi Divi Air.
Divi Divi Air itself does not have large aircraft. The twin-engine DHC-6 Twin Otter is the largest type in the fleet and can accommodate nineteen passengers.
In an earlier interview with the Dutch aviation website Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine, Corendon CEO Steven van der Heijden said that during the winter season Corendon is making part of its fleet available for charters or flights on behalf of third parties. Transavia and TUI also do the same during the generally quieter winter season. In the summer extra planes are leased to meet the larger demand in the Dutch high season.
Corendon is a Turkish / Dutch holding company specializing in flight vacations. The company was founded in 2000, and the head office is in Lijnden, The Netherlands. In 2017 it had revenues of 700 million euros.
Corendon Airlines flies to 43 countries and 190 airports, transporting approximately 3 million travelers annually. Its fleet consists of 1 Boeing 737-300 and 11 Boeing 737-800s.
The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic reports that in September 2018 the Dominican Republic received 300,916 foreign air arrivals, up 16.4% compared with the 258,588 received in September 2018. The country received 108,441 non-Dominican residents of the USA in September, up 36.9% compared to the 79,229 received in September 2017. It should be noted that the Dominican Republic suffered a substantial drop in traffic in 2017 as a result of the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria through the region.
Through the first nine months of 2018 the Dominican Republic has received 4,328,536 foreign air arrivals, up 5.1% from the 4,210,362 received in the same nine months of 2017. Non-Dominican arrivals from the USA grew by 8.8% during the same nine months, from 1,712,370 in 2017 to 1,863,533 this year.
BY HOTEL BUSINESS ON OCTOBER 16, 2018
NEW YORK—Virtuoso, the global network specializing in luxury and experiential travel, reports growth in winter bookings in the Caribbean. With 70% of the islands unaffected by last year’s busy hurricane season, and 90% of room inventory open in impacted regions, the islands are coming back.
According to Virtuoso, Caribbean business for January/February 2019 is 21% higher than January/February 2018. For festive season (December 22 – January 3), network bookings are up 8% year over year. It’s important to note that while some islands were still recovering in late 2017, travelers flocked to other destinations. Virtuoso reports particularly strong interest in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Turks & Caicos. Some of the hardest-hit islands, including the British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Martin, average a 29% decrease in air bookings for the 2018 holiday period.
The island was hit by both hurricanes, but 132 lodging options with more than 10,000 rooms are now open, including the Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan and the historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico will reopen in October. Most attractions, including El Yunque National Forest, are fully operational.
While the island’s airport was hit, impacting arrivals to St. Martin and feeder islands, 50% of flights have resumed out of its “luxury tent” terminal. The first phase of the airport’s rebuild will be completed in November, with 69% of flights predicted to be back by high season.
At the start of 2018, 70% of the island was open for guests, according to Martein van Wagenberg, managing director of Le Guanahani. Many buildings are concrete, so did not sustain as much damage as other regions. Beach hotels—including Oetker Collection and Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France—will open by the end of 2018. Le Guanahani will reopen in late 2019. To reach the island, Virtuoso advisors recommend connecting through San Juan or boat access from Anguilla or St. Martin.
British Virgin Islands
Deputy Director of Tourism Rhodni Skelton shared that the destination suffered a 90% loss in tourism over the past year as it was directly hit by both hurricanes. With visitors contributing 60% of the islands’ income, sailing partners quickly returned. Of the more than 60 resort islands, a few are beginning to open. Richard Branson’s Necker Island is welcoming guests starting October 14; Rosewood Little Dix Bay is predicted to come back by the end of 2019.
Virtuoso comprises more than 1,000 travel agency partners with 17,500 travel advisers in 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. The network has more than $23.7bn in annual travel sales.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The World Health Organization (WHO) has removed its Zika virus country classification scheme from countries in the region.
The scheme had categorized most of the Caribbean territories as having active Zika virus transmission.
This removal of the mosquito-borne virus by the WHO comes on the heels of data released by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), giving evidence that the Zika virus transmission in the Caribbean had been interrupted for over 12 months, or was at undetectable levels, thereby posing very little risk to residents and visitors to the region. “This was matched by data shared with CARPHA by Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States of America, which showed that no Zika had been detected for over 12 months in travelers returning from the Caribbean to their countries,” CARPHA noted in a statement.
This evidence was used by Caricom to pen a letter to the WHO Director-General calling for the immediate reclassification of CARPHA Member States from Category 1 — having active Zika transmission, to Category 3 — having no Zika transmission, arguing that the classification system had outlived its useful purpose.
According to CARPHA's Executive Director, Dr C James Hospedales, the Zika classification was not only having an adverse impact on the Caribbean, but it was also against the tenets of the International Health Regulations (IHR).
“This adverse impact was confirmed by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), who made a formal request to CARPHA for the Agency's intervention,” he said.
The WHO decision, backed by CARPHA’s report, sets the stage for the US Centers for Disease Control to follow suit, reducing or eliminating their travel advisory.
“The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world. It is also one of the most popular honeymoon destinations worldwide and ongoing cancellations due to the classification of most Caribbean countries as Category 1 is hurting the industry unnecessarily. Therefore, CARPHA felt compelled to provide the evidence and to advocate for the removal of this WHO Zika classification system,” Hospedales added.
Expedia study reveals U.S. workers will fail to use 653.9 million vacation days in 2018
BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Expedia.com® released the results of its 18th annual Vacation Deprivation® study today, which examines vacation usage and trends across 19 countries. The report found that global vacation deprivation is on the rise, and that workers in the U.S. took the fewest number of vacation days in the world in 2018, alongside Japan and Thailand.
With the number of U.S. vacation days awarded and taken at a five-year low, it's no wonder that vacation deprivation levels for Americans are at a five-year high (59%, up 8% from 2017). According to the report, American workers received 14 vacations days and used 10, resulting in 653.9 million days left on the table in 2018.
Topline results from the 2018 report include:
"One of the leading reasons people don't use their vacation days is that they're saving them for a big trip, which means they're going longer and longer between vacations," says Nisreene Atassi, global head of communications for Brand Expedia. "Bigger trips are great, but even a quick break can significantly improve quality of life. Aim to schedule a staycation or add an extra day onto a holiday weekend in between longer trips to get the best of both worlds."
"Fear of Switching Off" – is it all in our heads?
63 percent of Americans go six months or longer without a vacation, with more than a quarter (28%) going a year or more sans time off. Considering time off is so precious, one might be surprised to hear that a quarter of Americans admit to checking work email/voicemail at least once a day while on vacation.
While this behavior has stayed mostly consistent over the past decade, perhaps there's hope for future generations – younger workers are the least likely to check in frequently, at 19 percent for 18-34-year-olds, compared to 31 percent of the 50 and over crowd.
Interestingly, the pressure to be available may be self-imposed – only a small number of respondents say their managers (17%), junior staff (10%) and clients (12%) expect them to check-in daily while on vacation, proving most people need to simply give themselves permission to unplug.
Even a short getaway boosts self-esteem and confidence
With the biggest barriers to vacation being financial (54%), the desire to bank vacation days (23%) and inability to get time off work (17%), it begs the question: how long does one need to get away to reap the benefits of vacation? The study uncovered good news for those scarce on funds or time:
Taking a mental break
The growing focus and conversation around mental health may be changing how Americans vacation. A whopping 81 percent of U.S. respondents say they regularly take vacations where their primary goal is "mental wellness," and they overwhelmingly feel that vacation is a chance to "hit the reset button" on stress and anxiety (91%). Americans also report taking an average of two mental health days each year, which most feel should be considered sick days (67%), rather than vacation time.
"A wellness-centric trip doesn't have to mean a spa or yoga retreat, although those are popular options," says Atassi. "For most of us, recharging simply means we need to disconnect and slow down. Whether it's a family vacation or a solo escape, set rules about how often you're allowed to check email and try not to over-schedule your days."
For more highlights from the 2018 study and the history of Vacation Deprivation around the world, check out the Expedia Viewfinder® blog.
About Vacation Deprivation
Expedia first commissioned Vacation Deprivation in 2000 to examine the work-life balance of Americans. In 2005, Expedia began comparing behaviors across countries. As of 2018, Vacation Deprivation has grown to encompass 19 countries. 11,144 employed adults aged 18 and older were asked by Northstar about work-life balance in September 2018.
This study was conducted on behalf of Expedia by Northstar Research Partners, a global strategic research firm. The survey was conducted online from September 19-28, 2018 across North America, Europe, South America and Asia-Pacific using an amalgamated group of best-in-class panels.
According to the Aruba Tourism Authority Aruba saw a 2.1% decline in stopover visitor arrivals in September, falling from 77,644 stopovers in September 2017 to 76,017 this year. Stopover visitors from the USA grew by 8.4% however, from 43,629 in September 2017 to 47,277 in September 2018.
In the first nine months of 2018 Aruba has seen a 1.5% increase in the number of stopover visitors, growing from 797,457 in 2017 to 809,314 this year. The number of stopovers from the USA has grown by 7.4% during the first nine months, from 522,325 in 2017 to 561,208 through September 2018.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.