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Tourism boom in SVG

Tourism boom in SVG

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TOURISM recorded increased visitor arrivals of 8.1% for 2004.

This was confirmed by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, ECCB. Tourism Minister Rene` Baptiste noted that economists and financial advisors in Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Finance worked to gather these figures and the Central Bank further confirmed that this country is on target to earn $262 million an increase of some $90 million in 2003. She said that people tend to think that because they don’t see big cruise ships visiting the harbour that things are bad in the tourism industry. {{more}}Baptiste noted that the yearly average earnings for 2001 was some $240.3 million, 2002, $245.7million; 2003, $246.2 million and 2004, $262 million, a total from 2001-2004 of $994.2 million.

The minister compared this with $222.1 million in 2000; $228.3 in 1999 , $217.1 million in 1998 and $261.7 for 1997 making a total of some $834.3 million. The Minister noted that this country suffered significantly from anchorages in Union Island and the Leeward Coast and suffered from inefficencies in the collection of data from the Immigration and Customs Services. She said that harrasment, the dumping of yatch garbage, and petty theft are challenges the industry still faces.

She noted that the marketing efforts in the region paid off significantly in 2004 with visitor increases of 13.1% from Barbados, 18.9% from Grenada, 21.2% from St.Lucia and 5.2% from Trinidad. She noted that the minister of tourism of Antigua would be coming for Vincy mas and is interested in the marketing stratergies.

Minister Baptiste reported that a Marine Tourism Association was in its formative stages and would soon be launched. She also announced that the North Windward Tourism Association would launch next month. Baptiste noted that it is crucial to develop rural carnival. She congratulated the Bequia Sailing Club on their 24th anniversary of the Bequia Regatta, the Union Island Tourist Board and Easterval Committee for a successful Easterval which noted brings in some $100,000 a year.

Baptiste said that figures from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank have shown that this country is climbing in stature with millions of dollars coming from the tourism industry. The number of visitor arrivals reveal that the cruise and yachting industry was thriving while the number of arrivals at the airport had shown a significant increase. The Tourism Minister however expressed concern that petty theft on yachts remained a problem, and that garbage continues to be dumped by the yachts outside the Aquatic Club at Villa.