Caribbean sees record 26M visitors last year, coupled with record spending

Officials say a record 26.3 million people traveled to the Caribbean last year and spent an unprecedented amount of money in what is considered the world's most tourism-dependent region.

It is the fifth consecutive year that the Caribbean reports an increase in tourists following an economic crisis that forced resorts to shut down and caused a drop in visitors and spending.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization on Tuesday attributed the increase in part to improvements at airports around the region, the opening of new hotel chains and an increase in direct flights and airline seat capacity.

The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica and Aruba are among the larger destinations that saw an individual record number of visitors.

Tourists overall spent more than $29 billion in the region last year.