If you’re thinking of ditching your July 4th barbecue or fall road trip for a Caribbean summer vacation this year, you’re not the only one. Air travel to the Caribbean for the period from June through August 2023 shows a 48% increase in booked flights over the same months in 2019, according to a March 2023 report from travel data firm ForwardKeys for the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.
The seasonal lines have blurred, with summer now the Caribbean’s new high season. Typically, mid-December through mid-April was the most coveted, costliest time of year to visit, coinciding with frigid winter months in the US, Canada and Europe. The rush would taper off after Easter, ushering in a quieter season of hot, humid, hurricane-prone summer months.
“The pandemic sparked a major rethink about the Caribbean as a year-round destination,” says Simon Neggers, senior vice president of sales, marketing and communications at Oetker Collection, which includes the luxury Jumby Bay Island Resort in Antigua and Barbuda and Eden Rock St Barths. “Sure, it’s a little hotter, but in general it is the perfect beach weather.”
The initial spark came when Americans couldn’t travel to Europe for summer vacations, Neggers adds. In May 2022, as compared to May 2019, a 30% increase in occupancy came to Jumby Bay Island’s resort suites, and the private villas’ occupancy doubled from May to August.
Located in an exclusive area on the southern tip of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc Cap Cana hasn’t experienced a slow summer season for two years, says Rosalynn Castillo, director of sales and marketing.
“Remote work schedules are definitely having an effect on Caribbean travel trends,” says Kandace Douglas, an international lifestyle and real estate consultant in Grenada. “More travelers are vacationing longer and outside of the typical peak travel seasons.”
Maurice Smith, founder of Atlanta-based Eugene Toriko, a luxury travel agency, thinks travelers suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). “I don’t think people really care [about hurricane season]. We offer travel insurance in case your trips are disrupted at the last minute. It’s off-peak season, so you have better rates, and that goes a long way now with the airfare rates we’re seeing across the board.”
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