St. Vincent and the Grenadines averted the blacklisting by changing its laws last December. (iWN file photo)

Minister of Tourism, Cecil “Ces” McKie says that St. Vincent and the Grenadines saw increased arrivals in 2017, when compared to the 2016 figures.

Air arrivals in 2017, locals and visitors combined, were up 11 per cent over the 2016 figures, he told a rally in Argyle on Saturday to celebrate one year since Argyle International Airport began operating — Feb. 14, 2017.

“And we know that the locals responded by the charters and also the direct scheduled flights and they came to the destination,” he said in reference to the increased air arrivals.

A number of chartered international flights operated on the day the airport opened and in the months thereafter, until Air Canada Rouge began operating on Dec. 14, the weekly scheduled non-stops flights to and from Toronto, which will end on April 14.

The tourism minister said that arrivals by yacht increased by 7.9 per cent over the 2016 figure.

In November 2017, yacht arrivals increased 40 per cent and in December it was up 30.1 per cent.

Arrivals by cruise ships increased by 75 per cent over the 2016 numbers. In November, it was up 97 per cent and 147.3 per cent in December.

“Why? Because there is a new interest in the destination St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Investors are coming in and talking to us. … I want to say to you that that interest is only there because of the Argyle International Airport. What a government! What a project! And what progress!” McKie said.

“The time for ‘Can we?’ ‘Should we? ‘Must we?’ are gone. They were gone since the 14th of February 2017,” the minister said.

“Non-nationals, persons who are not Vincentians, they have come to the Argyle International Airport and without exception, they have all been high in praise for the quality of this facility. They love it.

“Vincentians, are we going to allow non-nationals, persons who are not here to love the Argyle International Airport more than we do? I don’t think so. So I’m urging you this evening, I want you to commit to ensuring that the Argyle International Airport continues to work for us,” McKie said.

5 replies on “Air, cruise arrivals increased in 2017 — Tourism Minister”

  1. 1. The 11 percent air arrival numbers could not possibly be mainly because of nonstop overseas aircract arrivals since these formed a tiny portion of all arrivals in 2017. If I had access to the total air arrival numbers, I could give precise figures.

    2. The cruise increase was mainly because Hurricane Irma and Maria closed several cruise terminals forcing many ships to come here instead in November and December.

  2. The affected countries started receiving ships once more, they’re up and running again. So the question is, how comes we are still having all of these ships then?

    Totally out of touch. Man go get a life and stop being so stupid.

    1. Observer I do not know how many times your ignorance requires a corrective word of advice, unless you say who you are referring to only you know. Some people who read this blabber have no idea about anything, so please be clear and name the person/s you write about..

      Kingstown is so dirty and nasty, or as C.ben Twatt would say a sh-t h-le place that the cruise industry has gradually withdrawn.

      The shops in the cruise ship terminal have had a bigger turnover of traders than any other business property in the hemisphere. Poor little people come, put in their rent and experience no clients, not enough ship arrivals, the traders eventually pull out owing rent and overdraft to their banks. The cruise ship terminal is a destroyer of mainly young entrepreneurs. What should they do? ASK RALPH he is the all seeing eye. But remember it is the only place where his wife does not have a catering business, tried it with a Cuban chef,and left yonks ago. If she had bollocks she would be losing those at Argyle because that is a white elephant, would be interesting to know if she is paying the rent on time, or at all?

    2. 1. The figures for cruise ships given by McKie are for November and December when several of our neighbours could not receive the ships that were diverted to us because of hurricane damage. They will not be repeated next November and December.

      2. Some of the affected countries began receiving ships again in February, ships that stopped coming here because of their return to their traditional destinations.

      3. Of those ships diverted here between November and the present, most have chosen to land in the Grenadines, not Kingstown, which has seen only a modest increase in traffic over the past four months.

      4. While total air arrivals are up for 2017, a figure that includes Vincentians returning home from overseas, stayover passengers, many of them foreign tourists, declined over 2016. This is the figure that only counts for value-added to our hospitality sector.

      5. The increase in yacht visitors between 2106 and 2017 was mainly in the Grenadines, always the landing destination of the overwhelming number of yachters passing through Vincentian waters.

      All these figures are from the data on the SVG Tourism Authority web site. Check for yourself if you don’t believe me. You won’t do so, of course, because political propaganda, not the presentation of facts, is your only objective.

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