On the heels of double-digit growth and a landmark total visitor arrival of 528,077 in 2018, the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) is delighted to report positive growth in total visitor arrivals of 1% for the first half of 2019. The destination welcomed a total of 318,559 visitors between January to June 2019 compared to 314,916 for the same period in 2018; this represents a 1.15% growth.
The stayover market, which represents our most lucrative visitor, grew by 3.81% with 82,399 visitors staying in our hotels, guesthouses and villa accommodations. The average length of stay of these visitors from our source markets is 8.5 days. The US accounts for 45% of our market share, followed by the UK with 17% and the Canadian market with 12%. Our focus is on expanding our reach in our traditional source markets and we now have four international gateways in the US for the upcoming Winter Season including JFK New York, Miami International, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.
We were able to hold our own with a slight increase of 1.33% in cruise visitor arrivals of 223,051 for the period compared with the phenomenal growth numbers of 220,125 last year. This is testimony of the hard work by the team to increase engagement with the cruise lines and keep Grenada top of mind with cruise executives. The GTA is planning an Aquila Professional Tour Guide training in September for our public and private stakeholders to enhance the customer experience in the destination.
The Yachting sector arrivals for the period remained flat with 15,318 compared to 15,420 in 2018. Grenada’s geographical location south of the hurricane belt should augur well for these numbers in the coming months. Port Louis Camper & Nicholson Marina is currently expanding its berths by 50% to accommodate more yachts for the Winter Season.
The GTA calculates revenue numbers based on monthly visitor expenditure surveys. These survey results indicate that the average daily spend is approx. EC$ 306 for the period January to June 2019. Total revenue generated for the period was EC$ 233,835,812 in the destination.
Based on recent external survey results, the cruise visitor spends on average EC$ 141, compared to the last survey of EC$ 133; a total of EC$ 26,791,436 in revenue generated for the destination. In total for the year to date, we estimate that EC$ 260 million was spent directly in Tourism in Grenada and that is not including the indirect spend in the economy. While this is significant revenue, the GTA is actively encouraging more spend in the destination with the production of a new shopping video and the packaging of immersive experiential tours.
With increased airlift from some of our major airlines, Jetblue, LIAT, Caribbean Airlines and American Airlines for the carnival and winter seasons, the GTA projects stayover visitor arrivals to grow by 5% in 2019.
Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Patricia Maher is encouraging visitors to enjoy the many attractions and experiences throughout Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique. She added “With our abundance of natural assets, warm and friendly people and safe environment, visitors can discover every parish and island of Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.”