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Visitor arrivals up

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Visitor arrivals to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) are up.

“Arrivals by air were up 11 per cent in 2017 and for the eight months of 2018 we are up a further five per cent…” Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil McKie told a gathering at the Grenadine House last Saturday.

McKie was addressing the 2018 SVG Tourism Awards ceremony which was held to recognize the top players in the tourism sector.

“In 2017, we had an eight per cent increase in arrivals by yacht and for the first eight months of 2018, ending August, we had 20 per cent increase in arrivals,” the minister said.

“We celebrate arrivals by yacht because it is also very evident on the mainland and in the Grenadines that SVG will continue to be one of the leading players where the yachting sector is concerned.”

Continuing, McKie said this country is celebrating as cruise arrivals increased by 24 per cent in terms of cruise calls in 2017 and that translated to a 75 per cent rise in terms of head count.

“In 2018 for the first eight months our cruise arrivals are up a whopping 84 per cent.

It was also said, that in 2017 we had 270 calls by cruise lines, an increase of 23% on the previous seasons where we had 218 calls.

“For the season 2018/19, we will have 274 calls and increase on the numbers last season.

“In 2017 we had 227,000 visitors to SVG and for the first eight months of 2018 we had 248,000 visitors so we are doing well,” McKie stressed while noting that throughout the country, service providers are positioning themselves not only to make a dollar but to improve on their service.

“It is visible across SVG as by air we now have our international flights by air Canada coming on Thursdays and from the middle of December to the end of April we will have a second flight,” McKie noted.”

The tourism minister said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated that tourism will be the driver in terms of the economic recovery and development for the country and they have projected an increase of between two to three percent in terms of economic growth for 2018.

“Stakeholders it is important that we recognize the moment and capitalize on the moment and position ourselves to gain,” McKie encouraged while stating that the weight of the development of the country lies on the shoulders of the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture.

“…and that has been recognized and echoed by everyone over the last two years and with that comes great responsibility and we have responded and will continue to do so,” McKie stressed.

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