The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) expects to see a boost in tourism arrivals as holidaymakers temporarily avoid the Middle East. “Every country has been growing in travel and tourism as a drive for economic growth. Middle East has been doing so too and some long-haul travel will be transferred elsewhere, at least in the short term,” said Ricky Skerritt, the organisation’s chairman at a CTO conference. “We expect some of the business diverting from Middle East could come to the Caribbean.” The outlook may prove as a boost to the region’s tourism from the UK, which has been significantly affected by APD. “In Barbados, for example, there will be a huge percentage change in the number of British visitors between 2009 and 2010, which has fallen from 40 percent to 34 percent [of total arrivals]. The fact is that British arrivals to the Caribbean are down.” The CTO said it would look to strengthen its trade communication and warned that travellers could begin to avoid UK airports in the future. Meanwhile, Caribbean tourism is expected to increase through the cruise industry, although it has outlined some potential problems. “Cruise lines strategically position ships outside the Caribbean in summer. Clearly for sustainability it’s better to have more consistent tourism year round [rather than winter months],” said Skerritt. “Oil prices affect cruise lines as well and so cruise lines are slowing down to cruise at optimise efficiency and it means some can’t cruise as far as they used to.” However, he said the industry was spurred by a range of new initiatives, such as the historic port in Jamaica.