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Opposition Leader says SVG tourism going nowhere

Opposition Leader  says SVG tourism  going nowhere

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In his reply address to the 2015 Budget presentation, the Leader of the Opposition has accused the Government of not doing enough to advance the tourism industry in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Eustace, on January 29, asserted that although tourism is quite a significant sector in our economy, {{more}}it seems to be “failing very badly” – with projected figures being “too far removed” from what is actually being achieved.

“Our tourism is going nowhere,” lamented Eustace. “It also makes me question the seriousness with which these estimates are made… no real seriousness was attached to these projections.”

Eustace was referring to the presentation by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in which the tourism growth forecast for 2014 for stay over visitors was five per cent, but the figure actually achieved was 1.7 per cent.

Moreover, in the same period, same day arrivals had been projected at -1 per cent, whereas – 25.5 per cent was actually recorded; and with a projection of five per cent increase in cruise ship arrivals, – 0.6 per cent was realized. Yacht arrivals exceeded projected figures.

Eustace also made mention of figures published by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), comparing SVG’s figures to those of the other OECS countries.

“The tourism industry in St Vincent is far smaller than I had assumed… given our relative size,” he said.

Up to October 2014, SVG recorded 52,673 stay over visitors. In comparison, Anguilla recorded 53,969; Antigua and Barbuda, 203,309; British Virgin Islands, 296,931; Dominica, 60,000; Grenada, 77,000; and St Lucia, 255,000.

In the same period, SVG recorded 55,411 cruise ship arrivals. In contrast, Antigua recorded approximately 376,000; Grenada, 153,000; Dominica, 189,000; St Lucia, 432,000; and St Kitts and Nevis, 434,000.

Eustace pointed out that an OECS study of the tourism industry stated that SVG has the ‘greatest potential and the widest coverage in terms of different types of tourism.’

“What are we doing? Look at those figures… something is fundamentally wrong!”(JSV)

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