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BMI View: Arrivals growth in the Caribbean will increase 4.5% in 2016, reflecting improved visitor
numbers from Europe and North America. Puerto Rico, Cuba, Bonaire and Guyana are expecting the
highest rate of arrivals growth, but all tourism markets except Belize will experience growth. However, the
outbreak of the Zika virus from late 2015 could pose downside risks to 2016 arrivals forecasts.
We currently expect arrivals to the Caribbean to grow by 4.5% in 2016, to 42.3mn, reflecting a slight
moderation from growth of 5.2% in 2015. We expect Puerto Rico, Cuba, Bonaire and Guyana to post the
highest level of arrivals growth in 2016, at around 5.5-6%, but we note the positive sign that all Caribbean
countries except Belize will experience arrivals growth in 2016 for the first time since the downturn.
However, we note that the UK vote by referendum in June 2016 to leave the EU could have negative
consequences for some Caribbean islands that are particularly dependent on UK tourists. Although it is
unclear what form the UK's departure will take, the vote is likely to lead to an economic slowdown in the
UK and has already sparked sterling depreciation. UK tourists may be deterred from visiting the relatively
expensive Caribbean, at least until the initial economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit has subsided.
Key Updates And Forecasts
- We have raised our forecast for tourism arrivals growth to the Caribbean to 4.5%, from 2.5%, reflecting
improving prospects in Cuba in particular.
- We expect Puerto Rico arrivals to grow by an impressive 9.1% in 2016, despite the ongoing debt
struggles in the commonwealth territory.