September tourist numbers way down


On the heels of the announcement of a record breaking year for cruise tourist arrivals, the latest tourism statistics point to dismal performance in Antigua & Barbuda’s bread and butter – stay-over hotel visitors.

This September, the country welcomed 9,412 stay-over visitors. In September 2016 that number was 12,821, a whopping 27 percent decline.

Every major source market’s numbers are down compared to last year, with the United States and Europe down 35 per cent each. The Canadian market dropped 8 percent.

Regional travel has also declined 6 percent, from 2,604 guests last September to 2,444 this year. Visitation from every Caribbean island was down, except for Dominica which increased 98 percent over last September.

While disruptions from three hurricanes anticipated to make landfall may explain the decline to some degree, the September numbers are following a worrying trend for the whole of 2017.

Looking at the statistics for the year in total so far, the destination is doing 7 percent worse overall than we were last year for the same period, January to September.

Tourism is the country’s main source of employment, foreign exchange and linkages to other sectors of the economy. The impact has already been felt and Cabinet notes last week revealed that the Treasury collected about 57 percent less tax revenue this September compared to the average normally collected in the past three previous years.

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