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Visitor arrivals to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in January registered a more significant increase than the end of 2014, when they increased “barely”.

“I wish we were up for the end of 2014, but we are up and that is a positive,” head of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache, told a press briefing on Wednesday as he announced that in January 2015 overall visitor arrivals increased 9.8 per cent.

The number of stay over visitors increased 9.8 per cent, while same day visitors were up 5.6 per cent. Yacht arrivals jumped 10.3 per cent, cruise ship visitors increased 9.7 per cent.

Beache said that arrivals from all the major markets increased, with the United States rising 0.3 per cent; Canada, 15 per cent; Trinidad, 5.4 per cent, and the United Kingdom, 17.8 per cent.

“Not to toot our horn but those are some good results. I hope it continues into February and March to the close of the tourism season to the end of April,” Beache said, noting that each month’s tourism statistics are usually available two months later.

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He said the Authority is hoping to implement some initiatives to encourage visits to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the off-season.

“Let them see St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the place to be, no matter what time of year it is,” he said. “The tourism Authority continues to market the destination, do some public relations to make sure we push it as much as possible.”

Beache noted that a lot of travel articles mention Argyle International Airport.

The airport has missed several completion deadline since 2011, its initial date for operationalisation.

Beache said the new target is October of this year.

He noted that CNN has listed St. Vincent and the Grenadines among the top 10 places to visit in 2015, before they change.

Beache said that during the Budget Debate last year, MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, an opposition lawmaker, said the Tourism Authority probably wrote the New York Times piece that listed St. Vincent and the Grenadines among the top 50 places to visit in 2015.

“I did not know we had that much power at the Tourism Authority to write things for the New York Times. I don’t think we have that much power to write things for CNN also.

“As I keep on saying, internationally, people can’t seem to get enough of us. There is no denying now that the international airport is close to completion and would be finished soon,” Beache said.

He said that media mention such as CNN and the New York Times does a destination a lot of good.

“It is huge. It’s getting the name of St. Vincent out there. Media mention, or feature story is completely different from advertising — me putting a full-page ad,” he said.

He said a full-page advertisement about the country is seen as just as at that — a full page ad.

“Of course, we are going to have nothing but good things to say; we are going to take the best pictures and put them out there. A feature story, where you are getting the opinion of a writer that you trust, goes a lot further, and especially travel writers who go to so many places and they do have bad places that they go to,” he said.

“Travelling is all about the experience. It’s a huge plus for us — a big difference between an ad and a feature story,” Beache said.

5 replies on “SVG sees increased visitor arrivals in January”

  1. Clement Percival says:

    My good friend Glen must do better than this. Pointing to an almost 10% arrival increase in January does not really tell a story. When one looks at the overall performance of the region, SVG is still lagging behind. So Glen is looking at SVG against itself, rather than against the region and the rest of the world.That is what you have to look at if you want to include that here is positive movement. One this score, SVG is still failing. We are enjoying the fruits of tourism growth generally. In other words, we should be doing better. Further , we need to have a sense of what is the longer term trend. This is what will point to whether we are seeing real improvement in arrivals. So Glen has to work harder to achieve results that he can crow about.But I believe that he has been given a basket to carry water!!
    I would advise him to leave the airport alone, and not to factor that into any immediate or medium thrust that he wants to make! The airport will not draw numbers in itself. The desire to visit not formed to any significant degree by whether the new airport is there or not. The destination draws the visitor, then the visitor will ask to determine how to get there. If that visitor really wants to come, the absence or presence of an international airport will not really matter in more that about 2% of the travel decision. There are many studies that have shown that.Let us concentrate on improving the destination product, let work hard at positioning on the market even in the absence of the airport, then we may begin to see a sustainable increase in visitor arrivals. Then there is a basis for the investment costs in the airport. The trouble is that the airport has sucked all the financial oxygen out of the air, so the resources that Glen needs to do what he has to do are simply not there.
    Let us just be careful in embracing Glen’s excitement over one month’s movement, which falls below regional performance.

  2. Clement Percival says:

    A couple of errors. Rather the ” include that there is positive movement”, that should be “conclude …….. “. Instead of ” we are enjoying” that should be ” we are not enjoying…” Instead
    of ” the visitor will ask…”. it should be ” the visitor will seek…”

  3. These guys always with their nonsense. Ello if we had 1 visitor last year and we have 2 visitors this year. Then we can say that’s 100 percent increase in visitors right? And if one of them returned then we can say that we have a 50 percent visitor retention rate right? Sounds good doesn’t it?

    But it still wouldn’t change the fact that we only had 2 visitors.

    Stop playing with percentages and tell us how many visitors we had. Percentages don’t mean anything unless we have the figures to compare them to. Steupssssssss

  4. C. ben-David says:

    St. Lucia tourist arrivals increased by 14 percent in January. Even when our numbers go up we still keep falling further behind our competitors.

    I don’t think most people realise how devasting normalization between Cuba and the USA will be for the rest of the Caribbean. Relatively few Americans go there now; normalization will open up the floodgates. If powerhouse tourism destinations like Mexico, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica will be negatively affected, where does that leave little SVG?

  5. Glen should include an exit form that visitors complete to help improve the tourist industry. They the visitors will let you know their likes and dislikes. This is the right and surest way to make improvements. Cuba is already drawing thousands of visitors. This will surely have some effects on the rest of the Caribbean, especially the smaller islands. However ST. Vincent has the Grenadines and that’s where the emphasis should be placed.

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