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As a region, Oliver Ponti, VP Insights for Forward Keys, says the Caribbean “is shifting from recovery to proper growth.”
Not only are Caribbean arrivals outpacing other regions in the world, fourth quarter projections are solid across the whole season and not just for peak holiday travel.
“The Caribbean is a success story of travel recovery,” he said. “Travel recovery is happening in the world but it’s happening slowly — in the Caribbean it’s there already.”
Notably, premium cabin classes are leading the recovery. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, premium class airline bookings are up 27%, while economy class is up just 1%.
“This segment is booming,” he said.
Although the Canadian market only fully lifted all remaining travel protocols on Oct. 1 and was lagging compared to US travel to the Caribbean, Ponti said there’s now a strong pick up in bookings as well as in searches for Caribbean travel.
“The removal of travel restrictions in Canada is actually accelerating the recovery of Canada as a source market for the Caribbean,” he told Travel Courier.
As a region, he said booking trends indicate that the entire Caribbean is negatively impacted in the aftermath of natural disasters like hurricanes, not just the specific countries.
“Each time disaster hits it makes the headlines all across the world and it triggers a spike in cancellations,” he said. “From an outsider’s perspective in the Caribbean, it’s the whole Caribbean which is affected.”
However, Ponti pointed out that these effects are short-lived.
“Caribbean destinations are incredible in terms of resiliency. They are able to communicate quickly on the fact that they are open for business,” he said. “While I would not like to minimize the impact of these natural disasters, I would like to stress that they tend to be short-lived. Because of the incredible resilience of Caribbean destinations, they manage to bounce back very strongly.”