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Tourism in 2004

Tourism in 2004

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Like the rest of the world, the tourism sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines continued to face the challenges that confronted it, and 2004 was no exception.

The Ministry of Tourism, working along with stakeholders in the industry, made a determined effort to address the numerous challenges that faced us as a multi-island destination, while grasping all the opportunities and possibilities that the year presented.{{more}}

Figures to date (September 2004) indicate that total visitor arrivals reflect an overall increase of 14.5 per cent over the 2003 figures, with a 10.7 per cent increase in stay-over arrivals, a 3.7 per cent increase in same-day visitors and a 56.3 per cent increase in cruise arrivals. The yachting sector reflects a 6.4 per cent decline when compared with 2003 figures.

Not daunted by the numerous challenges that confronted the sector during the year, the Ministry continued its efforts to increase the absolute number of visitors to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, their length of stay and the level of visitor expenditure in the country, combining the traditional with several new and innovative measures.

Staffing in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, though not to its full complement, continued to be addressed in 2004. Currently the Ministry has a staff of approximately 52. The Department of Tourism has a total full-time staff of 40 working in five Units, the Administration and Finance, Marketing, Planning and Development, Research and Statistics and Communications Units.

During the year the Ministry worked feverishly to establish the Marine Tourism Policy and the National Tourism Policy. The development of standards for the industry also got under way.

In the area of marketing, the Ministry’s website has been reconstructed and made more attractive and user friendly. The new website was launched earlier this year and has been effectively working to keep this destination visible on the World Wide Web.

As 2004 closes, the Ministry is already working on its 2005 programme. Special attention will be paid to the marketing and promotion of festivals, including Blues, Regattas, Vincy Mas, Nine Mornings, Gospel Festival and the Breadfruit Festival.

This will be done through the traditional means of printed material, trade shows and advertisements, as well as new measures including the production of a DVD and intense advertising on major networks in North America.

Plans for the new year also include the introduction of legislation for the Implementation of Industry Standards Regulations, the introduction and monitoring of standards for the industry including an Inspection and Licensing System.

The objectives of the Ministry are:

To ensure that there is high quality visitor experience for all consumers of the tourism product in St. Vincent and the Grenadines;

To continue to develop the knowledge of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Grenadines, in the targeted source markets, as a desirable tourism destination;

To ensure that data collection and analysis (qualitative and quantitative) are of a high quality to afford effective planning and development of the tourism sector;

To expand the opportunities for visitor expenditure in order to maximize the returns from the expenditure in tourism development and marketing.