Beauty of beaches no longer enough, says Caribbean competitiveness surve

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Caribbean islands attract 20 million international tourists per year… but beyond dreams promoted in advertising campaigns, are they competitive in terms of visitors’ experience and quality of hospitality?

Based on its reference UNWTO endorsed global survey TRAVELSAT, TCI Research has evaluated the competitive strengths and weaknesses of the Caribbean destinations vs main rivals in the world: Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Arabian Emirates.

Beyond beach beauty and diversity advocated by their visitors, Caribbean islands benefit from several assets related to the local people: hospitality, leisure and nightlife, local food quality and shopping experience.

However, intentions to recommend and repeat visits remain lower in the region (minus 15 points vs competition). The gap is driven by a number of competitive weaknesses related to less tangible yet crucial criteria, such as the feeling of security, the cleanliness or the urbanization of development.

Commenting on the results, TCI Research CEO Olivier Henry-Biabaud, said: “Beyond central issues related to connectivity (cost to reach the destination, visas…), the global competition between “sun and beach” destinations is all a matter of consistency in quality perceived during the whole stay that can generate positive or negative word-of-mouth.”

“The multifaceted Caribbean region is made of diverse destinations facing different tourism challenges and it offers a competitive experience to its visitors on tangible elements (beaches, accommodation, food…). However, some of them significantly suffer from a lack of competitiveness in more intangible criteria (environment, feeling of security, people hospitality…) raising issues they should address if they wish to build a more competitive and sustainable tourism… while emerging destinations like Dubai or Croatia sell a different “sun and beach” experience for attracting European markets. Some of these issues are mandatory to manage for attracting BRIC markets too,” he added.

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