Is the Ministry of Tourism serious about the preparation of its projections?
Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace repeatedly asked that question during the Budget debate last week.
Eustace noted that the Ministry’s website is important to getting St. Vincent and the Grenadines recognized as a destination.
But the Ministry has projected that the website will receive 250,000 hits in 2013, but only got 74,000.
“That is 29 per cent. And I am raising this because in your own accountabilities, you stress the importance of gathering information,” Eustace said.
However, while the Ministry had projected that it will get 2,000 information requests, it got 64,000
“Thirty plus times what you projected! That’s serious? Who is to take that seriously? Something is wrong, severely wrong, with our ability to project. And you have some of that even on the [visitor] arrivals,” Eustace said.
He, however, pointed out that while the website received 74,000 hits instead of projected 250,000, the projection for this year remains at 250,000.
“What are you doing? What message are you sending to this Parliament?” he said.
But Eustace also said that while the 64,000 information requests is “very good”, the Ministry said that this year it is expecting 2,000.
“You expect 2,000? You will have to drop from 64,000 to 2,000. Are you serious?” he said.
“The specific indicators and accountabilities included in the Estimates are important. They are vital to our performance, whatever sector we are dealing with. How can I take that seriously?” he told lawmakers.
Eustace said that the country has reasonably good performance in the Tourism Authority and the Tourism Ministry.
“But what I see here gives me no confidence, especially at a time when we are having difficulty with our growth performance. Are we taking this matter seriously at all?” he said.