Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Hon. Cecil McKie, held a news conference on Wednesday, 15th June to update the media on data received relating to Tourists arrivals in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Minister McKie said that arrivals for both, air and sea have increased; noting that stay over visitors by air went up by 8.2%; welcoming 22,000 persons to these shores for the first three months of the year. However, there was a decrease in same day arrivals by 21.3%.
For the first quarter, 514 persons arrived here, as compared to 653 last year for the same period. According to Minister McKie there was an overall increase of 7.3% in arrivals, compared to 21.3% in the first quarter of last year.
The Minister also highlighted that arrivals by sea, yachts in particular, have increased by 7.1% for the first quarter of this year, compared to 20.3% for the same period last year. Cruise arrivals went up by 6.5%, as compared to 48.8% last year.
Arrivals by sea overall increased by 6.7% (73,000), for the first quarter this year, compared with 69.1% for the first quarter last year. Over all there was an increase of 6.8% in arrivals.
Minister McKie said that his team is encouraged by the data seen for the first quarter of the year and highlighted that the Caribbean also welcomed more visitors to the region for the first quarter and last year in comparison to 2014. The Tourism Minister also said that they are beginning to see an increase in the figures for persons travelling generally, and added that this increase in movement, runs parallel with the increases in the world economy.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism Authority, Mr. Glen Beache, highlighted that the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Week, which was held recently, was attended by Minister McKie and himself. Mr. Beache said that a report on various countries’ tourism quality index for the Caribbean in different categories was done in an article, which was published in Residence Magazine.
The CEO indicated that the article is completely independent of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and ranked this country second with Anguilla for the overall tourist experience. In culture, St. Vincent and the Grenadines came in third; for entertainment, seventh; first for sightseeing; third in sports and adventure; and also third for culinary. This country also came in number one for lodging and twenty-third for connectivity, and safety was ranked at twenty-one.
Beache expressed his excitement with the high ranking of this country. The CEO however said that access to St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a problem. He stressed that the Argyle International Airport will create greater access to this country and ultimately aid in boosting the tourism sector.