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Stay over visitors down, yachting up 5 per cent – Tourism Authority

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While one or two areas within the tourism sector appear to be holding their own, statistics show that most other areas have declined in recent times.{{more}}

Glen Beache, chief executive officer for the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA), shared some statistics pertaining to the tourism sector on Tuesday, while speaking at a press conference. He noted that as at the end of October 2014, in comparison with the same period last year, stay over visitors were down by 1.7 per cent, same day visitors were down by 23.7 per cent and cruise ship visitors were down by 1 per cent. However, yachting was up by 5 per cent.

“For me, the two big ones are the stay over and the yachting. Stay over, it has become a problem and it’s something that we need to look at in terms of the flights into St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Beache said.

“Liat has changed up their flight schedule again, which I don’t think is to our benefit, especially the connections coming out of North America and Europe. So, that’s something we have to speak to them about.”

Despite noting that the off-season is usually difficult for the tourism sector, Beache has high hopes that things will pick up in the near future.

“The off season is never easy, but with the financial crisis that is taking place since 2008, it’s up and down. Some economists say we’re coming out of it, some say that we’re not. Some say that they not too sure. I tend to look at certain things, which the economists would also look at of course, for example, like car sales in the United States. Those are up again. In certain states, the housing market seems to be on the rebound, which is a good thing, so hopefully, people will start to put vacations on their list of things to do once again. So, we’ll continue to monitor it closely. Hopefully, after the next budget, the Tourism Authority will get an influx of even more marketing funds – especially with the international airport coming on stream – to do some more work,” he said.

The CEO further noted that he expects stay over visitors to increase by the end of December. Also, Beache predicted that cruise ship visitors will increase by 0.5 per cent and by end of year and that yachting will continue to do well. (BK)

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