If you’re planning a vacation to the Caribbean this coming winter, be prepared to pay a little more than you are used to—as tour operators face increasing fuel costs, rising hotel room rates, and a slightly weaker Canadian dollar than a year ago.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, while the real disposable incomes of Canadians are growing, travel prices are increasing at about double that rate. Consequently, the CBoC believes that many Canadians will book their trips a little later than usual in hopes of getting bargains or discounts.
Where in the Caribbean will Canadians be travelling?
Among the “Big Four” Caribbean destinations for Canadians (Cuba, Mexico/Cancun, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic), only Cuba increased its number of Canadian visitors last year, albeit by a modest two per cent over the previous year. The CBoC projects that those numbers will grow by 3.1 per cent this coming winter, to peak at just over 800,000. Both Jamaica and the Dominican Republic saw clear slippage in their number of Canadian visitors last winter—8.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively
Mexico, which has traditionally been the top non-US destination for Canadian winter travellers, saw 1.5 per cent fewer Canadians last year than the previous year, but that still amounted to 1.2 million in total. Surveys done this summer show that more and more Canadians are becoming hesitant about travelling to any part of Mexico for reasons of safety and security. Still, CBoC forecasts that Mexico will attract more Canadians this year than any other winter destination except the US.
As Caribbean governments work to attract Canadian vacationers, southern US states are not sitting idly by.
This past month, Florida Governor Rick Scott urged leaders of the state’s tourism industry to set a goal of 100 million visitors next year—that would be up from 90 million last year. To back up this initiative he urged legislators to set aside $75 million for marketing and advertising to Visit Florida, the state’s quasi-public tourism marketing agency.