Secretary of Tourism and Transportation in the Tobago House of Assembly, Tracy Davidson-Celestine has produced data that clearly show there has been growth in international arrivals since she took office in January 2013.
In her contribution to the 2015/2016 budget Secretary Davidson-Celestine told the Assembly on Thursday that there was a 100 percent increase in international arrivals for the 2015 winter period when compared to 2014 and in 2014 an additional 2,224 passengers came to the island when compared to 2013.
The Secretary said it was unfortunate that the leaders of both the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP)and the Tobago Forwards seem at best unable to comprehend the statistics or at worst tried to deliberately skew the fact that there has been growth in the sector.
Pointing to the definition of arrivals as articulated by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) the Secretary noted that arrival statistics refer to the measurement of international bound visitors (tourists whether they are stay over visitors or same day visitors, otherwise known as excursionists) and cruise passengers into the destination.
In that context the statistics clearly show that for the winter period 2014/2015 a total of 74,165 international guests arrived in Tobago when compared to just over 36,000 for the winter period 2013/2014.
She also rubbished suggestions that the number of international tourists coming to Tobago had declined and showed that even with the challenges Tobago still was able to see moderate growth.
“Mr. Presiding Officer, we have further indicated that for the winter period we have seen a moderate increase in international air passenger arrivals moving a total of 17,883 in 2013 to 17,991 in 2014 and that despite there being no Virgin Airways and the challenges of the uncertainty surrounding the Monarch flight that we were able to maintain a slight increase regardless of the challenges with airlift. This statistic in no way means that this is the total tourist arrivals for the year.” The Secretary told the Assembly.
Davidson-Celestine also revealed that total estimated stay-over in Tobago was 550,000 for 2014 and 530,000 for 2013. This represents an increase of almost 20,000 guests utilising our hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts, tours etc. The revised figures for international passenger arrivals by air for 2013 stands at 36,993 while that for 2014 stands at 40,217 passengers both of which have been adjusted to include indirect passengers from the Caribbean, Canada and other countries.