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NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW 4


Caribbean visitor numbers up after 2017 hurricanes


Amie Keeley amie.keeley@travelweekly.co.uk


UK visitor numbers to the Caribbean have increased overall despite parts of the region being ravaged by two hurricanes last September.


Arrivals were up marginally by


0.2% year on year in the first three months of 2018, while arrivals and hotel performance from January to June were ahead of 2017, according to the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. The six hurricane-impacted


destinations, including Barbuda and Turks and Caicos, saw UK arrivals fall by between 30%-50%. However, the association said


it expected to see most room inventory back to original numbers by early 2019, with hoteliers taking the opportunity to enhance their offering when rebuilding. Chief executive Frank Comito


said: “Most of the Caribbean is doing remarkably well this year, not least because more than 75% of the region was untouched by last autumn’s two hurricanes. “In terms of arrivals and hotel performance, our year-to-June


Barbados attracted more Brits than any other Caribbean destination in the first half of this year


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figures compare favourably with the same period in 2017.” Helen Tabois, senior product and marketing manager for the Caribbean at Inspiring Travel Company, said: “We’re seeing high demand from repeat bookers, who want to be among the first guests to experience [refurbished] hotels in St Barts and Anguilla.” UK arrivals by destination have


been more mixed. Jamaica’s figure dropped by 1.4% to 102,500 for January to June, due in large part


to the state of emergency declared in Montego Bay in January. Torrance Lewis, district manager at the Jamaica Tourist Board, said: “We didn’t have a strong January, which is why the numbers are down slightly, but in the months since, arrivals have flatlined or increased (compared with last year).” Barbados is currently the most- visited Caribbean island by Brits


with 119,200 arrivals, up 2.8%. › Comment, page 32


5 UK heatwave fuels 2019 bookings


Lee Hayhurst lee.hayhurst@travelweekly.co.uk


Strong domestic holiday demand is being driven by heightened expectations of warm UK weather after this summer’s heatwave, tourism chiefs say.


Last week, VisitBritain predicted a bumper bank holiday August, with 7.3 million people expected to take a UK break as the hottest summer since the 1970s draws to a close. Official 2018 numbers are not yet available, but regional


tourism bodies and businesses are reporting record numbers. Pete Waters, executive director


of Visit East Anglia, said the weather had had a “huge impact”, complemented by the weak pound and chaos at air and ferry ports. “[Domestic] accommodation


providers are reporting good bookings and, with customers thinking this summer’s fine weather is the new norm, are experiencing strong bookings for next year,” he said. “If people know what they want, they book early.” UK chain Hallmark Hotels


6 travelweekly.co.uk 30 August 2018


“We see a substantial rise in people booking staycations during hot periods”


reported a year-on-year rise in July and August bookings of 96% – up 2,000 – across its 26 properties. Head of Hallmark, David Grosfils,


said: “We’ve seen a summer of records, including visitor numbers to some locations such as Cornwall.” Last-minute cottage booking website Snaptrip.com reported


a strong link between UK temperatures and Google searches. Chief executive Matt Fox said: “This summer we’ve seen more Brits holidaying in the UK than ever and it is clear the heatwave has played a massive part. We see a substantial rise in people booking staycations during hot periods.” Shearings Holidays has updated its agent toolkit and was sending out 2019 brochures this week. “By booking early, customers have the best choice of seats on the coach and rooms at the hotels,” said managing director Jane Atkins.


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PICTURE: SHUTTERSTOCK


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