Weekly Update

Aruba loses 61% of its air seats in a week

The Official Airline Guide (OAG) reports that between Monday March 16th and Monday March 23rd Aruba lost 61% of its air seats, falling from 33,338 seats per week to 12,860, with a further decline of 14% to occur in the week of March 23rd.

In the same week, between March 16th and March 23rd, the Caribbean as a whole saw a loss of 246,712 seats, a drop of 23.7%, falling from 1,039,055 seats to 792,343 with much of the loss being seats from the USA.

Unfortunately, Aruba appears to have seen the largest loss of seats on a percentage decline basis while the Dominican Republic lost the most seats overall, seeing a loss of 67,474 seats in that one week.

Looking forward into April the situation will get worse with further significant suspensions of service coming into effect.

Globally, Western Europe saw the biggest percentage decline in the number of seats, falling by 52.9% between March 16th and March 23rd while Upper South America saw a 42.1% drop so the Caribbean falls roughly in the middle of world regions in terms of percentage declines.

Caribbean Islands Tighten Travel Restrictions, Some Resorts Close

As the COVID-19 pandemic widens its reach, Caribbean nations are restricting travel in order to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

In one of the strongest measures, Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina announced the island closed the country’s borders by land, sea and air effective Thursday, March 19, for the next 15 days. 

Medina has also banned local and international activities including cultural, artistic and sports events as well as entertainment venues like bars and clubs, among others.

Following the decision to close the borders, Club Med Punta Cana and Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda said it will temporarily suspend operations from March 19 to May 1, 2020. The Excellence Collection will also temporarily close its two resorts in the country: Excellence Punta Cana as well as Excellence El Carmen. The resorts will close beginning on Friday, March 20, with plans to reopen on June 5, 2020.

AMresorts, which operates four resorts in the Dominican Republic and one in Jamaica, among others in the Caribbean, said it made the decision to close hotels in all destinations until further notice. 

Aruba, the Cayman Islands, St. Maarten and Trinidad are closed to international visitors for two to four weeks. These closures went into effect Monday, March 16.

Curacao and Guadeloupe have suspended all international flights, while Anguilla banned direct flights originating from Europe, including the United Kingdom, for the next 14 days, effective March 17.

Antigua and Barbuda are not allowing in foreign nationals who have traveled to and from China, Italy, Iran, Japan, Korea and Singapore the past 28 days.

The Bahamas introduced expanded travel restrictions March 19. Non-residents who have traveled to the UK, Ireland and Europe within the last 20 days will be barred from entry into the country. This is in addition to restrictions already in place for China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.

The Bahamas’ Club Med Columbus Isle will close between March 21 and May 1, 2020. Club Med Caravelle in Guadeloupe and Club Med Buccaneer's Creek in Martinique are temporarily closed until March 29, 2020. Bahamar in Nassau will be closed as of March 25th indefinitely.

The British Virgin Islands closed its borders as of March 22nd until April 6th. The Tortola cruise port has been closed, allowing no cruise ships to call on the territory for a 30-day period. Barbados and St Kitts and Nevis have also imposed quarantines for recent travelers from most countries affected by the virus.

Cuba has closed its border for 30 days commencing Tuesday March 24th.

Jamaica announced that effective 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020, and for a period of 14 days in the first instance, Jamaica’s air and seaports will be closed to incoming passenger traffic. Half Moon announced it will temporarily close March 18 to May 1, 2020. All Sandals hotels are closed from March 30th until May 15th.

St Lucia has closed its borders from 11.59 pm March 23rd until Sunday April 5th.

Curacao reports stopover arrivals grew by 7.4% in February.

According to the Curaçao Tourist Board, Curaçao saw a 7.4% increase in stopover visitor arrivals in February, growing from 41,148 stopovers in February 2019 to 44,198 in February of this year.

Stopover visitors from the USA grew by 23.0%, from 7,136 visitors in February 2019 to 8,778 visitors in February 2020. Stopover visitors from the Netherlands grew by 2.9%, from 17,292 visitors in February 2019 to 17,796 visitors in February 2020.

In the first two months of 2020 Curaçao has seen a 5.4% increase in the number of stopover visitors, growing from 85,304 visitors in 2019 to 89,889 visitors this year. 

The number of stopovers from the USA has grown by 24.4% during the first two months, from 13,904 in 2019 to 17,292 through February 2020. The number of stopovers from the Netherlands has grown by 3.0% during the first two months, from 35,605 visitors in 2019 to 36,659 visitors through February 2020.

The number of cruise visitors grew by 12.3% in February, from 81,839 visitors in February 2019 to 91,873 visitors this year. 

Through the first two months of 2020 the number of cruise visitors to Curaçao grew by 3.0%, from 202,197 visitors in 2019 to 208,187 visitors this year. 

Please note that February 2020 had one more day than February 2019, a 3.6% increase in days.

Cuba announces total visitor arrivals fell by 13.2% in February.

The Cuban Government’s Office of National Statistics and Information (ONEI) recently announced that total tourist arrivals fell by 13.2% in February 2020, from 459,417 arrivals in February 2019 to 398,906 arrivals in February of this year. This number includes both stopover visitors and cruise visitors. 

The number of visitors from the USA fell by 59.0%, from 49,851 arrivals in February 2019 to 20,440 in the same month of 2020 (Note: this would include cruise visitors).

The number of visitors from the number one market, Canada, grew by 7.5%, from 156,461 arrivals in February 2019 to 168,247 this February. 

Arrivals from Europe decreased however in February with traffic from Germany down by 25.6%, from France down by 23.1%, from the U.K. down by 59.3%, from Italy down by 15.5% and from Spain down by 2.2%. Arrivals from Russia were up by 57.7% however, from 14,455 in February 2020 to 22,798 in February 2020.

In the first two months of 2020 Cuba saw a 16.5% decrease in total arrivals, falling from 949,035 in 2019 to 792,668 this year. 

Total tourist arrivals from the USA, which comprised 5.0% of all arrivals, fell by 64.5% from 112,267 in 2019 to 39,904 in the first two months of 2020.

Arrivals from Canada, which comprised 41.7% of all tourist arrivals, grewby 4.8%, from 315,483 in 2019 to 330,554 in the first two months of 2020.

Hawaii’s hotels report a 1.2 percentage point growth in average room occupancy in February to reach 84.7%

According to the Hawai‘i Hotel Performance Report published by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), statewide hotel room occupancy grew by 1.2 percentage points from 83.5% in February 2019 to 84.7% in February this year. ADR grew by 6.4% from $291.66 to $310.31 while revpar grew by 7.9%, from $243.46 in February 2019 to $262.70 in February this year.

HTA’s Tourism Research Division issued the report’s findings utilizing data compiled by STR, Inc., which conducts the largest and most comprehensive survey of hotel properties in the Hawaiian Islands. 

In February 2020, Hawai‘i hotel room revenues statewide grew by 7.0% from $386.70 million in 2019 to $394.60 million this year. Room demand rose to 1,271,500 room nights, up 0.6% compared to a year ago. Room supply was slightly lower (down by 0.8%) and fell to 1,501,900 available room nights. 

Hawaii has 53,650 hotel rooms. 

It should be noted February 2020 had one more day than in February 2019, that is 3.6% more days.

For the first two months of 2020 statewide hotel room occupancy grew by 3.0 percentage points from 81.4% in 2019 to 84.4% in the first two months of 2020. ADR grew by 6.1% from $294.69 to $312.59 while revpar grew by 10.0%, from $239.81 in the first two months of 2019 to $263.73 in the first two months of this year.

In the first two months of 2020, Hawai‘i hotel room revenues statewide grew by 9.1% from $765.0 million in 2019 to $834.60 million this year. 

Room demand rose to 2,670,100 room nights, up 2.9% compared to a year ago. Room supply was slightly lower (down by 0.8%) and fell to 3,164,800 available room nights

Visitor Numbers To Macau Plunge 95.6% in February To Record Lows

It has been reported today (March 20 2020) that visitor numbers in Macau, the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, have plunged to record lows due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the city’s Statistics and Census Service, numbers are down by 95.6% falling from 3,545,701 arrivals in February 2019 to 156,400 in February 2020. 

Officials in Macau have put the blame squarely at the door of the Covid-19 crisis, which is still ongoing.

Measures implemented by the government over what is usually one of the busiest times for gaming and hospitality industries over Chinese Lunar New Year, included temporary closures of premises, 14 day quarantine and travel restrictions to and from China along with other countries further afield. 

According to official data at the start of this month, gross gaming revenue was down over eighty percent compared with the same period in 2019 and the number of same day visitors and overnight stays dropped more than ninety percent.

Macau has a population of almost seven-hundred thousand residents and typically welcomes between 25 and 30 million visitors every year.

Tourism is a major industry in Macau, with a blend of Portuguese and Chinese cultures. Its gambling industry, which includes Casino Lisboa Macau, Sands Macau, The Venetian Macao, and Wynn Macau, is one of the largest contributors to the local government and local economy.

The top five destinations of visitors that usually visit the special administrative region have been some of the most severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

According to reports, the number of people who usually visit Macau from the USA and United Kingdom also declined dramatically.

Despite Macau businesses returning to almost normal operation, it is not yet clear how long the region will be negatively affected by falling visitor numbers, nor can officials predict whether figures will return to that of before Covid-19.

Jamaica saw a 4.9% increase in stopover arrivals in January.

According to the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica saw the volume of stopover arrivals increase by 4.9% in January 2020, growing from 216,509 arrivals in January 2019 to 227,200 arrivals in January 2020. 

Stopover arrivals from the USA grew by 8.3%, from 132,508 visitors in January 2019 to 143,460 visitors in January 2020. 

Cruise arrivals fell by 16.0%, from 249,026 cruise visitors in January 2019 to 209,163 cruise visitors in January 2020.

Mauritius announces stopover visitor arrivals fell by 3.5% in February.

The Mauritius Government’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development recently announced that total stopover arrivals fell by 3.5% in February 2020, from 115,613 arrivals in February 2019 to 111,560 arrivals in February of this year. This number includes both air and sea stopover visitors. 

The number of visitors from France, the number one market, increased by 6.2%, from 32,257 arrivals in February 2019 to 34,244 in the same month of 2020. 

It should be noted that February 2020 had one more day than February 2019, a 3.6% increase in the number of days.

In the first two months of 2020 Mauritius saw a 4.7% increase in total stopover arrivals, growing from 237,886 arrivals in 2019 to 248,979 arrivals this year. 

Total stopover arrivals from France grew by 10.2% from 59,159 in the first two months of 2019 to 65,195 arrivals in the same two months of 2020.

The United States Virgin Islands saw a 13.1% increase in air arrivals in January.

According to the USVI Bureau of Economic Research, the USVI saw the volume of air arrivals increase by 13.1% in January 2020, growing from 64,226 air arrivals in January 2019 to 72,614 air arrivals in January 2020.

   
 
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