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Tourist expenditure up by $20 million says Beache

Tourist expenditure up by $20 million says Beache


Tourism expenditure for 2005 recorded an increase of some $20 million compared to figures in 2004 Tourism Minister Glen Beache disclosed on Tuesday.

Despite external shocks of escalating oil prices and a weaker demand for Caribbean voyages, this country’s tourism expenditure figures continues to see an upward trend. {{more}}

During a press conference on Tuesday, Beache told journalists that an increase from $250 million in 2004 to $282 million in 2005 indicates that the tourism ministry and the private sector are doing something right.

“I remember the leader of the opposition speaking about the figures being down in 2005 from what he saw in 2004… and I am happy to state that the 2005 tourism expenditure is up greatly compared to 2004,” Beache disclosed.

According to the Tourism Minister a 22.5 per cent increase in yachting has shown increased figures from 44,773 to 54,856 up to May this year, while a 6.3 per cent increase in stay over arrivals was recorded from 41, 632 to 39, 167 passengers for the first quarter of the year compared to 2004.

These increases, he noted, are positive signs that the country’s tourism sector is experiencing growth.

Beache credited LIAT as one of the main contributors.

He said for 2005 LIAT brought the most passengers to St Vincent and the Grenadines compared to any other airline. The regional carrier brought some 38,017 people to these shores last year compared to its closest rival, which landed 33, 466 passengers.

He highlighted that the upcoming tourism season is expected to be a productive one. From October through until early 2008 the Spanish cruise liner, Blue Moon, would make calls to port Kingstown.

The 2005-2006 tourism season, he said, only reported 22 calls to Kingstown, but according to the Tourism Minister an increase by some 75 calls seems likely as one agent has already registered close to 100 calls for the upcoming tourism season.

“I am very happy with the direction in which tourism is going right now,” Beache said.