Discover the new openings coming to the Caribbean this year

Caribbean expert Nigel Tisdall suggests new ways to sell an old favourite to regular visitors

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Would you visit the same holiday destination 25 times or more? In Barbados, this happens so often that the tourist board runs a Loyal Visitors Club that honours the island’s most dedicated fans, including some that have soaked up its sunshine on more than a hundred occasions. It’s a sign of the enduring appeal of this balmy region, which has bounced back from the pandemic with gusto.

The Bahamas, for example, clocked up a record 9.7 million visitors in 2023 – including a hefty number from cruise ship arrivals – while Jamaica welcomed 4.2 million visitors, of which 42% were repeat guests. With a variety of landscapes and cultures, plus constantly improving access and upgraded accommodation, there are plenty of options for agents looking to sell a second or third‑time visit. Here’s some inspiration for where to send Caribbean devotees in search of a new adventure.

Butterfly farm
Aruba’s Butterfly Farm

Sandals St Vincent

For Sandals fans, this spring will bring a whole new Caribbean island to sell with the opening of Sandals St Vincent and The Grenadines on March 27. Set on the west coast of mountainous St Vincent, the 301-room beach resort is easily reached via Virgin Atlantic’s thrice-weekly flights from Heathrow. The super-scenic isle is well worth exploring and excursions from the property include whale watching, climbing the mighty La Soufrière volcano and a snorkelling cruise to Bequia and Mustique.

New hotels in Aruba

A year after British Airways launched twice-weekly flights from Gatwick, this Dutch island is upping its game with three new resorts. For a boutique stay, book clients into the four-star Aruba Boutique & Art Hotel in Palm Beach, which opens on April 1. Two large five-star properties will follow this year – the adult-only Iberostar Grand Aruba, with 240 suites, due in late summer, and the St Regis Aruba Palm Beach Resort, coming in December.

Rum tours in Grenada

Grenada is a good choice for clients interested in tasting rums and discovering their heritage. As well as a visit to the rustic River Antoine distillery, which dates from 1785 and still has a working waterwheel, suggest a trip to the Renegade Rum Distlillery in St Andrews.

It opened for tours last month and is on a mission to create a premium tipple that can vie with a single malt. True Blue Bay Resort in St George’s offers a Rum Shop Experience that includes tastings along with a lesson in how to play dominoes Grenadan-style.

Dominica snorkelling
Snorkelling in Dominica

Diving in Dominica

Having recently completed a £14 million upgrade including 60 new rooms, Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort is an ideal base for exploring this green and mountainous isle that will appeal to clients who like to hike and go birdwatching. In the heart of the capital, Roseau, visitors can dive from a private jetty and take boat trips to see the island’s resident sperm whales. Suggest an ‘island included’ package, which pairs a daily outdoor adventure with yoga and massages in the hotel’s waterfront Zemi Spa.

Fort Young hotel
Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort, Dominica

Resorts on the British Virgin Islands

The reopening of the British Virgin Islands’ Peter Island Resort in October, after a six-year rebuild, is welcome news for this upmarket British Overseas Territory, which is best accessed via Antigua. With terrific views over the neighbouring isles, the private island offers 52 units plus a spa and yacht club. The Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda, meanwhile, will open 10 rooms, including four by the beach, next autumn.

Peter Island Resort
A beachfront villa at Peter Island Resort, in the British Virgin Islands

Flights to the Turks and Caicos

Last year, international tourist arrivals to the Turks and Caicos Islands rose by 127% compared with 2019, according to UN Tourism’s World Tourism Barometer report.

Now served by direct Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow, the island of Providenciales will appeal to clients who love US-style resorts and having fun on (and in) the water. Options include the upscale Wymara Resort + Villas on shimmering Grace Bay Beach, the family-loving all-inclusive Beaches Turks and Caicos and the three-star Ports of Call Resort.

Turks and caicos pool deck
Pool at Wymara Resort + Villas, Turks and Caicos Islands

Caribbean festivals in 2024

Cultural events are a smart way to draw bookings outside the peak season. Music lovers will enjoy the long-established Saint Lucia Jazz Festival (main nights May 8-12), while foodies can savour the scrumptious Nevis Mango Festival (July 5-7), now in its 10th year. Summer celebrations include the Batabano Cayman Carnival (May 3-6), Barbados’s Crop Over (July 31-August 5), Antigua Carnival (July 25-August 6) and Grenada’s Spicemas (August 1-13).

Indigo Restaurant
The Indigo restaurant at Wymara Resort + Villas, Turks and Caicos Islands

Fast fact

Virgin Atlantic will up Heathrow-Barbados flights to twice-daily on October 27, while Aer Lingus has extended its Manchester-Bridgetown service until May 31.

Ask the expert

Jenny basham

Jenny Basham, product manager – long-haul beaches, Carrier

“We’re seeing more demand for twin and triple-centre stays. Clients are looking to get more out of their holiday and a second island can introduce a different experience. We recently put together itineraries pairing Saint Lucia with Grenada, Nevis with Anguilla, and Antigua with St Barts.”

Matt Rushbrooke

Matt Rushbrooke, commercial and product director, Inspiring Travel Company

“We’ve noticed a rise in all-inclusive travel, especially in the school holidays, so I recommend agents book well in advance to secure family rooms. There’s been a rise in business to St Kitts and Nevis, which is served by twice-weekly direct flights with BA, so make clients aware of these gorgeous islands.”

Caroline Beckett

Caroline Beckett, Caribbean product manager, Elegant Resorts

“Bookings to Grenada are up 40% on last year and more than half are clients who have previously visited – showing what a special island it is. Luxury properties like Spice Island Beach Resort are particularly appealing. We’re also looking forward to the opening of Six Senses La Sagesse on April 10.”

Top tip

Island-hopping clients can take advantage of improved connections between Antigua and Anguilla with Anguilla Air Services, whose flights coincide with British Airways flights to and from Gatwick.

SVV Beach club
The Beach Club, Sandals St Vincent and The Grenadines

New cruises to sell

With Caribbean sailings starting on November 29, Explora Journeys’ newly launched Explora II will spend its maiden season visiting less-familiar islands such as St Barts, Anguilla and Dominica. A seven-night sailing departing San Juan, Puerto Rico, starts at £3,240 on an all-inclusive basis, excluding flights and excursions.

In the British Virgin Islands, Anegada is renowned for its lobster dishes – and the only cruise ship that calls there is Emerald Cruises’ 100-passenger Emerald Sakara. An eight-day trip departing Saint Martin on November 29 leads in at £3,452, including flights, transfers, meals and excursions.

SeaDream Yacht Club has responded to an increase in demand for longer itineraries by introducing voyages of up to 11 days for its 2026 Caribbean season. A 10-day all-inclusive sailing departing Barbados on February 1 starts at £5,007, excluding flights and excursions.

Emeral sakara
Emerald Sakara’s Aqua Pool

Book it

Caribtours offers seven nights’ half-board at Cap Maison from £2,875, including British Airways flights from Gatwick on May 11 (which coincides with the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival) and transfers.

Seven nights’ room-only at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort starts at £1,559 with Gold Medal, including BA flights from Gatwick on September 8 and transfers.

Sandals offers seven nights’ all-inclusive at Sandals St Vincent and The Grenadines from £2,229. The price includes Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow on September 7 and transfers.

Swim up room
Bamboo Palm Club Swim-Up Room, Sandals St Vincent and The Grenadines

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