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Average Airfare To Top Destinations In Our Region Is Down This Winter … Can The Territory Keep Pace?

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SAN JUAN — The allure of the Caribbean and Mexico is undeniable for many Americans seeking a warm and sunny reprieve from another brutal winter.

Fortunately, airfare to some of the most popular destinations throughout the region is down this winter, according to data from Airlines Reporting Corp.

Based on round-trip air tickets purchased from U.S. travel agencies by February 1, 2017, for trips taking place between Dec. 1, 2016, and Feb. 28, 2017, ticket prices to nine of the 10 most popular destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico are down compared to this time last year.

The average ticket price to fly to Cancun, Mexico — which is the top spot for winter travel in the region with almost 63,000 tickets sold — is down nearly $15 from last winter, coming in at $485.51.

While Guadalajara, Mexico, isn’t as popular as Cancun, the average ticket price to the region’s eighth-most booked destination has dropped off significantly since last year, falling from $507.45 in 2016 to $435.58 this year.

Average ticket prices are also down for travel to Mexico City ($529.52), San Juan, Puerto Rico ($438.58), Los Cabos ($539.79), Montego Bay, Jamaica ($556.46), Puerto Vallarta ($510.73), Nassau, Bahamas ($491.75) and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic ($529.27).

The lowest price for a March 8 flight from New York City to St. Thomas was $521 on Jet Blue, according to Expedia.

Mexico travel expert Greg Custer credits Southwest Airlines’ aggressive expansion into Mexico for helping reduce prices, calling the low-cost carrier’s growth “a game-changer for many U.S. gateways.”

“It’s brought price and service competition back into the Mexico equation,” said Custer. “It’s also remarkable how Mexico domestic airfares have plummeted. It’s common to find intra-Mexico roundtrip fares for under $100 roundtrip.”

According to TravelPulse’s editor for the Caribbean and Latin America, Brian Major, “the rate declines may be due in part to a significant increase in airlift to the region this decade.”

Nonetheless, he says the lower prices signal good news for travelers given the experiences to be had in many of the aforementioned destinations.

“These cities to a great extent define the mainstream Caribbean vacation experience as all offer signature Caribbean hotel and resort brands and the attributes, from distinctive cuisine and music to colonial history and African culture, that vacationers to the region seek.”

Of the top 10 destinations based on ARC’s ticket sale data, only Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, has seen an increase this winter compared to last, with the average price jumping about $10 to $600.95.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

1 Comment

  1. afterwhilecrocodile
    March 8, 2017 at 9:14 PM — Reply

    Hey Southwest,

    The United States Virgin Islands needs you pronto to reduce the airline fares at Cyril King and Rolsen Airports…….

    So, that tourism flourishes as overnight guests stay at their designated hotels filled to the brim at maximum capacity. ……

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