Despite all adversities, the sun shines in the Caribbean

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Euromonitor International predicts that the region could recover pre-pandemic levels by 2023. It will have a greater momentum than Europe and North America.

According to Euromonitor International’s travel forecasting model, the region is expected to recover losses in tourism spending by 2023 at the earliest. As difficult as it may be to manage in the short term, a faster recovery is anticipated for the Caribbean compared to regions such as Europe and North America, despite having left earlier starting points with the reopening.

Short acute shock followed by rebound
The decline in 2020 was also relatively less severe than elsewhere, with a sharp 63% drop in Caribbean tourist destinations, compared to a 75% drop for global tourism, followed by a Accelerated growth of 74% in 2021, when the sector starts. bounce after bottoming out.

According to Euromonitor International’s worst COVID-19 scenario, where there are more blockages, delays in vaccination programs and new variants that would further complicate the health situation, it could take until 2025 to return to the peak of tourism spending in 2019 in the Caribbean . The expectation in the baseline forecast is that by 2022 the Caribbean will be at 85% of its previous spending levels as international travel normalizes, with the world entering the endemic stage and benefiting from a greater global consensus on digital health passport protocols for traveling abroad. .

The economic outlook for North America and Europe has improved for 2022, so stifled demand and economic recovery will also fuel the recovery fire.

Outbound markets seek consumer-centric services
As uncertainty continues to dominate the travel landscape, consumers increasingly prioritize free cancellations when making travel reservations so that, if necessary, they can be rescheduled or refunded at no cost to them. Looking at some of the key Caribbean home markets, including North America, the UK, France and Germany, there was a significant increase in interest on flexible terms and conditions, rising 14 percentage points to an average of 63.7% of consumers who reported free cancellations are important to them, according to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Digital Survey.

Given the dynamic situation with the virus, the shift to consumer-centric features will continue and will be critical to encouraging travelers to book with confidence, without fear of losing.

The same Digital Survey reveals how free updates are still important to 42% of consumers, including extra legroom or baggage allowance, along with destination wellness, spa, and food and beverage benefits. especially for the UK and Canada.

25% of consumers say they seek more flexible payment terms, such as deposits and installment payments, and this trend is expected to gain momentum as inflation rises, unemployment remains high, in addition to the increase in the cost of living , including commodities and energy.

In the key source markets of the Caribbean, there has been an average increase of five percentage points in the number of people using augmented reality or virtual reality for “try-before-you-buy” travel experiences, standing at 21% of the consumers according to our Digital Survey. In a post-pandemic world, it will be more vital than ever to be transparent, first of all, about the health and safety protocols in place, but most importantly, to assure consumers that these will not hinder or diminish the quality of the experiences of health and safety. the real life of destinies. they need to stay true to form.

Loyalty and reward with free gifts and offers are losing popularity in markets such as Germany and the UK, especially among younger consumers, such as Gen Z, who are not as impressed or influenced by such strategies.

The impact of climate change is all too real for small island developing states, including Caribbean countries that are highly vulnerable to natural disasters and climate events such as hurricanes and cyclones that cause untold destruction, loss of human life and property damage. and critical infrastructure.

At the recent United Nations Climate Conference, COP26, Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States showed their commitment by signing the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism together with 300 partners. The declaration was released by the Travel Foundation, Tourism Declares, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), VisitScotland and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Signatories commit to halving carbon emissions by 2030, by creating and acting on a climate action plan within 12 months to accelerate the path to net zero long before 2050.

Barbados brought the case to make greater efforts to implement climate action, and its president Mia Mottley called global warming of 2∘C a “death sentence” as the country, like many other small island states, faces existential threats. by the rising waters of the sea. and advocated for the advanced world to commit more investment in terms of climate finance.

Barbados faces significant challenges when it comes to combating climate change and protecting underwater life according to the UN Sustainable Development Goals dashboard. The transition to sustainable tourism development, on the one hand, will create jobs and income for the eradication of poverty, safeguard biodiversity and the natural world, while decarbonizing the sector to reduce its considerable footprint, where more than 8% of the Carbon emissions worldwide are generated by tourism and transportation. -related activities. The Glasgow Declaration sets the wheels in motion for this urgent and just transition to take place with speed and scale.