Caribbean tourism to see boost from private jet travelers

private jet travel caribbean

One in six (17%) private jet travelers plan to visit the Caribbean/Central America this Fall and Holiday season, according to a just-released survey of private aviation users, making the region the most popular destination outside the Continental U.S.

Half (50%) of the respondents visiting the region said they will be staying in a second home they own with the same amount citing a rental villa. In a boost to the tourism industry, 42% will stay at a resort hotel, with 16% noting an owned or charter yacht, and 12% mentioning an Airbnb.

Nearly 4 in 10 respondents (38%) said they plan to visit Florida at least once before the end of the year, the top destination for private jet travelers from the new research by Private Jet Card Comparisons, a buyer’s guide to private jet membership and jet card programs. Mountain destinations were a close second, noted by 34% of respondents.

Private jet users spend an average of $85,000 per trip in the destinations they visit, meaning the influx of private jet travelers will provide an economic boost for the Caribbean and Central America’s COVID-19 impacted travel and tourism industry.

Overall, 90% of respondents are expecting to travel by private jet this fall. According to the survey, 51% of respondents are planning to increase their use of private aviation, with 31% reporting their companies are expanding usage of private aviation services.

The survey analyzed individuals’ upcoming plans to fly private between September and the festive period, with 36% of respondents identifying as new or returning users and 64% representing existing users who were flying private prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fact that 42% of respondents said they will be staying in a resort hotel is truly a green shoot for the travel and tourism industry in the Caribbean and Central America,” said Doug Gollan, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons.

Outside of the Continental U.S., the Caribbean/Central America, noted by 17% of respondents, was a clear-cut favorite compared to Mexico (7%), Hawaii and Europe, both at just 3%.

Key highlights from the survey include:

  • 51% of all respondents are planning to increase their use of private aviation, while 28% expect to make the same number of flights, and 21% anticipate decreasing their private flight usage
  • 50% of those visiting the Caribbean/Central America plan to stay in a second home they own, the same number as rental villas. Resort hotels (42%), charter or owned yachts (16%), and Airbnbs 12% will also see significant private jet visitors.
  • Among all respondents who are either new or returning users of private aviation services, 89% are planning to fly privately
  • Of those who were already existing private aviation users prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 38% expect to make the same number of flights while 30% are planning to increase their private travel usage during this timeframe, and 32% plan to decrease their use of private aviation
  • 72% of all respondents are flying privately to reduce possible exposure to COVID-19, including 87% of new or returning private aviation users and 63% of existing users
  • 29% of new/returning users expect to fly privately for business travel, compared to just 13% of existing users who plan to increase private flights for business
  • Of the respondents whose companies are expanding private jet access for business travel, 92% report their companies are expanding the type of trips for which private aviation is being used, with 28% saying their companies are expanding the number of employees who can use private aviation and 20% expanding both.
  • 53% of new and returning users expect to continue to use private aviation after concerns about the pandemic recede
  • Respondents reported their top destinations for leisure trips as Florida (38%), followed by mountain destinations (34%), the Caribbean/Central America (17%), and big cities (16%)
  • The majority of all respondents (69%) cited second homes as their primary accommodations for leisure trips as well as resort hotels (31%), city hotels (20%), rental villas (17%), owned/charter yachts (10%) and Airbnb (6%)

Separate research from Argus TRAQPak shows 97% of domestic private aviation departures were for flights within the Continental U.S. through August. Private flights are projected to reach 90% of pre-COVID-19 levels by November. Currently, TSA numbers show airline passenger counts at 30% of pre-pandemic levels.

“Private jets can really help the region’s economies counter decreased airline flights,” said Gollan.

The survey was conducted online from September 18 to 22, 2020, via Survey Monkey to subscribers of Private Jet Card Comparisons, a buyer’s guide that enables users to compare over 250 private aviation membership options in order to identify the programs that best fit their needs in minutes, saving weeks of research.