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Arrivals up but spending down

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Arrivals up but spending down

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THE GOOD NEWS is that tourist arrivals in the region for the first quarter of the year were up 5.6 per cent on last year’s.
The bad news, however, is that spending by visitors declined by two per cent for the comparative period.
Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) secretary general Hugh Riley made this disclosure while addressing members of the media during a joint CTO and Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) Press breakfast at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) which took place at the Iberostar Hotel and Resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica, last week.
Riley said arrivals out of the United States were flat, recording a two per cent growth, while arrivals from Europe increased by one per cent. The Canadian market was out front with a seven-per cent increase.
Riley also stressed that growth within miscellaneous markets – comprising the Caribbean, Latin America and South America – went up by 17 per cent on last year’s for the comparative period.
He said this miscellaneous market was growing significantly and urged tourism authorities to identify the main source countries involved.
The CTO head said that while numbers were preliminary and spending within the wider Caribbean was down, some individual destinations “are reporting success stories” while others continue to experience declines.
He further disclosed that a recent Smith Travel Research Hotel Survey indicated that the average daily (spending) rate, or ADA, declined by two per cent for the first quarter.
 “This is borne out by preliminary reports from visitor surveys in a few countries where the average daily spending of the visitor continues to fall or remain sluggish,” he pointed out.
He added that every possible effort must be made to stimulate visitor spending in the region, since the spending rate was similar to that of 2004.
Alec Sanguinetti, CEO and director general of the CHTA, agreed that while the positive growth “is encouraging, the revenue is down significantly”.
He noted this was being done “within an environment where hotel cost is not decreasing”.