by Brian Major
Last updated: 12:40 PM ET, Fri May 26, 2023
This article originally appeared the April issue of AGENTatHOME magazine. Subscribe here to receive your free copy each month.
BERMUDA LAUNCHES CRUISE VISITOR MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
Bermuda officials are undertaking work to improve cruise ship visitor management, including “more minibuses, more on-the-road taxis, and supplemental ferry service around cruise ship arrivals this season,” said Wayne Furbert, Bermuda’s minister of transport, in a March statement.
Furbert said Bermuda will host 213 cruise ship calls during the territory’s traditional cruise season, which begins in mid-April and extends through October.
Bermuda will host increased year-over-year cruise calls in April, October, November and December of 2023, he said, with “ships coming almost seven days a week.”
Furbert added the neardaily ship arrivals “[ensure] passenger volume is spread more evenly throughout the week and year.”
DOMINICAN VISITOR ARRIVALS SURGE
Dominican Republic travel has remained strong postoutbreak. In February the destination reported more than 661,000 overnight, land-based visitor arrivals, the most for the month in Dominican Republic history.
The total also represents a 17 percent increase over February 2022, and a nine percent increase compared with February of 2019, according to Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism data reported by the Florida- Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).
Also in February, the Dominican Republic hosted the highest number of cruise passengers for any February in the country’s history, FCCA officials said, nearly tripling the country’s cruise ship arrivals in 2022.
Dominican tourism started strongly this year, as the country hosted just under 657,000 land-based visitor arrivals in January, the most ever for January in the destination’s history and a 27 percent increase over 2022.
The January 2023 visitor total was also 19 percent higher than January 2019, during which the previous record was set.
OBSTACLES LOOM FOR PUERTO RICO’S REBOUNDING CRUISE BUSINESS
Puerto Rico’s cruise ship visitor arrivals have rebounded strongly from pandemic-imposed shutdowns and restrictions yet remain behind 2019 levels as cruise operators continue rebuild itineraries post-outbreak, say officials.
Puerto Rico’s cruise visitor arrivals doubled year-over-year in 2022.
The increase was achieved despite what destination officials describe as a “slowly recovering” cruise visitor market.
Yet Puerto Rico’s primary port of San Juan is not expected to reach 2019’s passenger volume until 2024 according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) officials.
Overall, Puerto Rico hosted 5.5 million visitors in 2022 according to travel research firm Tourism Economics, a 16 percent year-overyear increase over 2019, during which visitor arrivals reached record totals.
Puerto Rico’s cruise ship visitors meanwhile represented 16 percent of the island’s total 2022 arrivals, compared with 33 percent of 2019 arrivals.
Nevertheless Puerto Rico, the sixth-largest Caribbean port in terms of passenger days (trailing only the Bahamas, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Maarten), remains in cruise visitor growth mode.
In February, Puerto Rico Ports Authority officials reported a 544 percent year-over-year cruise passenger increase, with arrivals up from 50,000 through February of 2022 to 326,000 passengers through the same month in 2023.
Yet despite the strong start, Puerto Rico’s cruise passenger arrivals continue to trail 2019 by 22 percent. Still, destination officials expect “significant year-over-year growth” through spring.
However unlike past seasons, Puerto Rico will have few vessels homeporting in San Juan this summer. The absence of homeporting cruise ships will impact the destination’s total arrivals this year, said Port Authority officials. They predict San Juan’s cruise passenger volume will reach 80 percent of 2019’s volume by the end of the year.
AMERICAN SCHEDULES ST. KITTS AND NEVIS FESTIVAL FLIGHTS
St. Kitts and Nevis will receive additional American Airlines flights in time for the 25th St. Kitts Music Festival, adding two inbound flights on June 21 and two outbound flights on June 25 to accommodate festival patrons, government officials said in mid-April.
American will also increase its daily flights to the dual-island Caribbean nation from one to two between August 15 and September 5, officials said.
The music festival takes place from June 22 to 24 with soul, soca, jazz, R&B and reggae performances at the Warner Park Sporting Complex in Basseterre. Scheduled artists will include Burna Boy, AkaiiUSweet, Kollision Band, Small Axe Band, Stadics and Erica Edwards.
Bermuda Tourism Authority:
Discover Puerto Rico:
Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism:
Nev is Tourism Authority:
St. Kitts Tourism Authority:
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