According to the Caribbean Tourism Authority, the Caribbean could be losing billions of dollars in tourism revenue by not fully harvesting the enormous value of diverse markets in North America and beyond.
Historically underrepresented African American, Asian American, Caribbean American, Hispanic American and other markets present a wealth of opportunity to reap rewards for the region, and 2023 is a good time to refocus on the growing demand for a Caribbean travel experience among these populations and meeting their expectations once they arrive on our shores.
Tourism stakeholders have observed that much of the region’s economic activity during the pandemic and beyond can be attributed to African American travelers.
Black Americans spent an estimated US$129.6 billion on domestic and international leisure travel in 2019, according to a survey created by MMGY Travel Intelligence on behalf of Black travel advocacy organizations.
U.S. Hispanics, the fastest growing demographic in the United States, spent US$113.9 billion on domestic leisure travel in 2019 and accounted for 13% of all domestic leisure travel that year, according to MMGY.
Diversity is part of the North American landscape and destinations ought to regularly include diverse imagery in their advertising and develop communications strategies that resonate with these important communities.
The Caribbean is replete with cultural touchpoints that make diverse travelers feel at home, but we must work harder to ensure they receive the same hospitable treatment accorded to our traditional visitors. Elevating our customer service levels across the board must be a top priority in 2023 if we are to compete with tourism destinations around the world.
It is time to get serious about demographics and psychographics vis-à-vis emerging markets, which also includes the upwardly mobile and influential South Asian community, whose purchasing power and love for Caribbean travel is strong and growing.
Smart, culturally sensitive strategies are needed to allow us to grasp the new opportunities that are within our reach.