Strong cruise growth has helped the tiny island of Montserrat to set top a significant tourism milestone.
For the first time since the eruption of Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills Volcano in 1995, Montserrat welcomed more than 20,000 cruise and stayover visitors last year, according to Montserrat tourism officials.
That number was driven by a 59 percent increase in cruise visits; stayover arrivals grew by 2 percent in the same period.
Montserrat did not reveal the breakdown between cruise and stayover visitors, however.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve been able to surpass the threshold of 20,000 visitors,” said Montserrat Director of Tourism, Warren Solomon. “It tells us that we’re on the right track with our marketing initiatives and that if we are able to be consistent in our delivery, we could continue the growth trend.”
On the stayover side, the Caribbean region led the way, generating 19 percent of total stayover visits, followed by the UK, which accounted for 13.4 percent and the US, which accounted for 12.6 percent.
The tourism data released by the Statistics Department also revealed a one percent growth in visitor spend, amounting to $27 million.
Montserrat’s Tourism Division said it was confident that its product development initiatives, some of which include enhancements to the trail network and beach facilities, service training in the tourism sector and the construction of a Volcano Interpretive Center, would stimulate increased activity and spending by visitors to the island.
“We recently launched a new survey tool that will capture both the sentiments of our visitors, as well as more accurate estimates of their expenditure,” noted Product Development Officer, Rosetta West-Gerald, “This will allow us to better understand both the positive or negative impacts of our product offerings and make adjustments where necessary.”