Michael Trout - Jan 28, 2024
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The peak tourist season is currently underway in Martinique. However, the latest data INSEE collected regarding hotel occupancy shows no improvement. Although the data is not catastrophic, it indicates a downward trend in the number of overnight stays by foreign tourists, hotel occupancy, and a slight decline in visitors from France.

U.S. and European Visitors Down

During the third quarter of 2023, the hotels in Martinique recorded a total of 270,900 overnight stays, indicating a 3.6% decrease compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The decline in hotel occupancy was mainly due to the reduction in foreign overnight stays, which decreased by 18.0%. This decrease primarily affected customers from Europe (-22.6%) and the USA (-23.9%), representing 66.6% and 7.1% of the overnight stays from abroad, respectively.

Moreover, there was a slight decrease in customers from France (-1.8%), who account for 90.7% of stays in Martinique's hotel industry. During the third quarter of 2023, hotels recorded 245,600 overnight stays from this clientele.

More Canadian Tourists

The Martinique Tourism Committee (TMC) has made attracting Canadian visitors a top priority, and with seven flights per week during peak season, their efforts are paying off. Canadian tourists account for 19.1% of foreign overnight stays, and their numbers have increased by 7.6%. However, it needs to be clarified whether Martinique's hotels will benefit significantly from this influx of visitors from North America, as some of these travelers are only passing through on their way to board cruise ships.

The TMC hopes to attract 30,000 Canadian visitors and is currently assessing the impact of a new open line between Toronto and Martinique, which aims to capture an English-speaking clientele. A final evaluation of this new service will be made at the end of the high season.

The Next Few Months Should Be Promising

Martinique's hoteliers are optimistic about the end of the high tourist season, as occupancy rates in January, February, and March are already looking better. However, uncertainties remain for April.

Hoteliers are worried because 22% of their customers who book their plane tickets a month before their stay will no longer be able to do so. This is because last-minute airfare discounts no longer exist, and hoteliers are unsure how these travelers will react. They may either postpone their stay or choose to go somewhere else.

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