IS­LAND HOP­PING

Multi-des­ti­na­tion tourism is on the rise. To grab its share of this grow­ing mar­ket, Caribbean des­ti­na­tions must find ways to col­lab­o­rate rather than com­pete

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - NEWS - BY CATHER­INE MOR­RIS, STAR BUSINESSWEEK COR­RE­SPON­DENT

In the af­ter­math of the dev­as­tat­ing 2017 hur­ri­cane sea­son, tourism stake­hold­ers in the Caribbean were quick to step up mar­ket­ing ef­forts. Their mes­sage was clear - this is a large, di­verse re­gion and many des­ti­na­tions are still open for busi­ness.

At a time when trav­ellers are in­creas­ingly look­ing for unique ex­pe­ri­ences, the Caribbean’s size and di­ver­sity is a com­mod­ity that can be lev­er­aged to at­tract not just in­ter­na­tional guests, but those com­ing from other coun­tries within the re­gion.

Multi-des­ti­na­tion tourism refers to vis­i­tors who travel from one Caribbean coun­try to an­other. Th­ese may be in­ter­na­tional is­land­hop­pers who want to see every­thing the re­gion has to of­fer or Caribbean na­tives in­dulging in a stay­ca­tion. Tourists seek­ing out mul­ti­des­ti­na­tion trips are of­ten young, af­flu­ent, ad­ven­tur­ous and so­cially con­scious. Rather than re­lax­ing at a re­sort, they want to en­gage with the coun­tries they visit and plan a var­ied itin­er­ary that will add value to their trip.

A GROW­ING NICHE

Last year, travel group Ex­pe­dia re­ported a 15 per cent in­crease in ticket de­mand for travel from one Caribbean des­ti­na­tion to an­other and noted that this niche is grow­ing three times faster than in­ter­na­tional in­bound travel to the re­gion. The most pop­u­lar

Ac­cord­ing to re­search by Ex­pe­dia Travel Group, non-Caribbean na­tion­als vis­it­ing the re­gion are in­creas­ingly in­ter­ested in multi-des­ti­na­tion ex­pe­ri­ences, but the Caribbean has his­tor­i­cally been un­able to in­crease is­land-to-is­land mo­bil­ity for tourists and Caribbean na­tion­als alike

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