It’s being billed as a significant milestone in Grenada’s tourism history as the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) reported that over half a million visitors were recorded for the first time in 2018.
The tourism body said that 528,077 visitors were welcomed to the island in 2018, which surpassed the target of 500,000 set in 2017.
According to GTA, the periods of August and December were the peak months for the island.
The numbers recorded are as a result of the combined tabulations of cruise, yachting and stay-over arrivals.
Speaking on the achievements of the sector, Chief Executive Officer of GTA, Patricia Maher told reporters that the authority not only met but exceeded “the historic milestone of half a million total visitor arrivals”.
“We actually went well over that figure for our combined visitors to the island. As you know we count our stayover visitors – the people who come to the hotel accommodations, guest houses, villas. We also account for yachting visitors, people who are coming off the yachts and cruise visitors. Together this total figure has a historic milestone of 528,077 total visitor arrivals in 2018…so not only did we meet our target, we well exceeded our target for the destination”, she said.
“…We grew by you can say 13%; 12.9% year on year for our total visitor arrivals for Grenada and that was on top of our strong performance in 2017 as well. In terms of our valuable stayover arrivals where one would spend 10 days in the destination, sometimes 12 days in the destination and obviously spends a lot of money in the destination, we have moved from 146,375 to 160,970 visitors.
Maher also said: “We actually had a bumper Christmas season, I believe the hoteliers will testify to that where for Christmas, December, year on year, we had a growth of 17% year on year, which really drove the business for us”.
According to Maher, the Canadian market recorded the highest growth in visitor arrivals to the country when compared with other countries.
“The Canadian market in 2018…would you believe a 19.5% increase year on year for the destination. There is a lot of potential in the Canadian Market and the USA followed and grew by 12.38% year on year…also very strong for us. The Caribbean market also grew significantly, almost 7% year on year. We have some significant growth also from Latin America and the rest of the world, other parts of the world; globally we’re making our mark. The USA remains the top spot in terms of market share. For Grenada, our arrival to the destination at almost 47% market share, the USA arrivals…so that’s very strong performance out of the USA performance market,” she said.
Figures provided by GTA indicate that the Cruise Sector grew with 155 more persons coming to Grenada than the year before.
In addition, the yachting sector recorded 11% growth in 2018 with 24,281 yachters visiting the island.
The CEO attributed the success to the hard work of the GTA staff, the collaborative efforts with stakeholders, and the lobbying to secure increased airlift to the country in 2018.
“We are delighted to have surpassed our historic 500,000 total visitor arrival target, and it is as a result of the hard work first and foremost of the GTA team. I have to commend this wonderful and dynamic team at the Grenada Tourism Authority; hard working, focused, delivering results and I have a very strong management team here at the GTA and without you guys, this wouldn’t have happened…”, she said.
“…What did we do extra in 2018 – we lobbied for more airlift with the airlines, we negotiated with the cruise ship executive to bring more cruise ship, we worked very well with our Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) partners, we worked with Grenada Ports Authority, Grenada Airports Authority – all of these people contributed to our success as a destination,” she remarked.