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SVG’s visitor arrivals up by almost 7 per cent – Minister

SVG’s visitor arrivals up by almost 7 per cent – Minister

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Arrivals by both sea and air to St Vincent and the Grenadines have increased by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, in comparison to the same period last year.

This coming from officials at the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture speaking at a media briefing last Wednesday, June 15.

Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil McKie explained:{{more}} “We are very encouraged by the data that we would have seen for the first quarter of the year.”

The overall increase saw 96,700 arrivals in the first quarter, compared to 90,500 arrivals for the same period last year.

McKie further broke this figure down in arrivals by air and sea, with an overall 7.3 per cent increase in air arrivals (22,800 arrivals in 2016, 21,300 arrivals in 2015) and an overall 6.7 per cent increase in arrivals by sea (73,800 in 2016, 69,100 in 2015).

In terms of air arrivals, there was an 8.2 per cent increase in stay-over visitors and a 21.3 per cent decrease in same day arrivals.

Chief Executive Officer of the SVG Tourism Authority Glen Beache expressed that when considering these figures, stay-over visitors is one of the most important factors – if not the most important.

“People spend longer, they get to enjoy more of St Vincent and the Grenadines, experience the product that is SVG, and we hope leave a lot more foreign currency within the country,” explained Beache.

“It’s great for SVG because… the way the product is currently in SVG, it can only grow to a certain figure and then it will remain stagnant because we can only get so many flights in per day.”

In terms of sea arrivals, yacht visitors increased by 7.1 per cent and cruise visitors went by 6.5 per cent.

Addressing the media briefing, Beache also noted that arrivals from SVG’s main markets have improved; with arrivals from the USA up 9.3 per cent, Canada up 1.9 per cent, Barbados up 27.9 per cent, Trinidad up 47 per cent, and the UK up by 5.7 per cent.

“I still would like to see an improvement in Canada because… when you look at Canadians’ travel, they tend to be a lot more experimental than any of the other markets,” he highlighted.

“So, I would like to see that increase but as long as the Canadian dollar continues to fluctuate the way it’s doing now, that will be a challenge.”

Beache also pointed out that come June 23 when the United Kingdom votes on whether to stay in the European Union or exit, it will have an effect on the pound (sterling) and the euro – and subsequently on our arrivals from the UK.

“While people might think that’s of no concern to us, it affects us greatly… All these things play a role in what we do, how we do it; if people travel, how far they travel, how long they stay, the sort of spending power that takes place.” (JSV)

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