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Eustace wrong again, says Beache

Eustace wrong again, says Beache

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Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace has got his tourism figures wrong once again.{{more}}

This, according to Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) and former Minister of Tourism Glen Beache.

Beache, speaking at a press conference last Wednesday, July 20, said that the comments made by Eustace relating to tourism statistics during a New Democratic Party press conference on Monday, July 18 are inaccurate.

During his press conference, Eustace said that in the first quarter of this year (2011), the decline of visitors continues.

He indicated that when compared to the statistics during the same period in 2010, stay over visitors coming by air fell by 5 per cent; same day visitors fell by 18.3 per cent and while visitors by yachts increased by 4.9 per cent, cruise ship visitors fell by 26.5 per cent.

According to Eustace, overall visitors fell by 17 per cent.

But according to Beache, those figures are inaccurate.

“The Leader of the Opposition made some statements regarding statistics for the first quarter. As he used to do when I was in Parliament, he skirts over the things he wants and talks about the things he thinks makes him look like a genius,” Beache said.

Over the past few years, Tourism has been very competitive, Beache contended, and especially with the financial crisis going on, almost all the countries around the world have been scraping for the same visitors.

Beache explained that while Eustace was talking about the decline in cruise ship arrivals, he said that this was a similar problem for all the countries in the Southern Caribbean.

The CEO of the Tourism Authority said that the reasons why Princess Cruise Lines was pulling out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and parts of the region as a whole was because they were finding it more profitable to travel to Europe and that high fuel prices made it difficult for them to leave their hub in Miami and Puerto Rico and come to the Southern Caribbean when they can fill their ships up North.

“So it’s not rocket science why the cruise ship numbers have fallen off,” Beache said.

There were similar situations in Aruba and Dominica, where major cruise lines were no longer traveling to those destinations, he added.

But Beache was of the opinion that the Opposition Leader needed to be honest with the general public.

For the period leading into April this year, Beache was of the view that the tourism sector had not done as badly as the Opposition Leader had indicated.

According to Beache, yachting figures were up by 4.9 per cent, and stay over visitors were up by 3.7 per cent.

He also indicated that although same day visitor arrivals were down, the figures for January were up.

“With the high cost of flying regionally, unless you get cheap airlines or a fast ferry service, same day figures will be at that level,” the SVGTA CEO explained.

“It’s nothing new.”

In some areas, visitor arrivals were up, according to Beache: visitors from Canada for the first quarter were up by 2.7 per cent, Trinidad and Tobago up 10.7 per cent and those from the United Kingdom, up by 28.2 per cent.

“The Leader of the Opposition needs to do his research and give an accurate reflection of what is taking place,” Beache said. (DD)

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