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De Ole Dawg – Part 2: 2018 – What about tourism?

How can we build on the tourism facts highlighted in the December 15, 2017 Mott-MacDonald Draft Economic Growth Strategy?

BRADES, Montserrat – The December 15, 2017 Mott-MacDonald Draft Economic Growth Strategy document[1] shows that several of our neighbouring territories host about a million tourists per year, mostly as cruise ship visitors. According to this report, St Kitts-Nevis has over a million visitors, with over nine hundred thousand being cruise ship passengers; average spending per tourist is EC$ 354. Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism industry hosts nearly nine hundred thousand, with just under eighty thousand being overnight visitors; the per tourist spend being EC$ 405. For Anguilla, there are a hundred and seventy-six thousand visitors, and per visitor spend is $2020. 

As further background, it is useful to look at the 2012 draft Montserrat Tourism Development Plan[2]:

Prior to 1995, tourism was a significant contributor to the economy, representing between 20% and 36% of the national [economic] output (GDP [= Gross Domestic Product]). With the destruction of a considerable proportion of the island’s natural resource base and infrastructure, coupled with concerns about safety, tourism industry was decimated and now accounts for less that 5% of the economy (GDP).

Despite the reduction of available landscape, Montserrat still maintains its distinctive charm, based on the intimacy of its size, the friendliness of its people, the peace & tranquility, safety & security and the relaxed/easy pace of life. The challenge is to build a tourism industry around these fundamental strengths . . . .

In 2011 there were just over 6,400 stay-over arrivals to Montserrat. In addition there were just under 2,000 excursionists and a similar number of yacht visitors. We estimate total expenditure by visitors to have been about EC$ 17M in 2011, contributing between 3.5% and 5% to the national economy (GDP). The stock of accommodation is just 250 rooms, mostly in villas (146) – virtually the same as a decade ago in 2001.

From the current Mott-McDonald study, we have now grown from about ten thousand four hundred visitors per year c. 2011 spending EC$ 1635 on average, to a bit under sixteen thousand visitors, with somewhat less than nine thousand of these being overnight. Current per visitor expenditure is EC$ 1449.  That implies a total expenditure of about EC$ 22.7 millions. Stay-over visitors fell from about 61% in 2011 to now 56%, reflecting a rise in the relative importance of day trippers; which probably also affects spend per visitor. This pattern suggests the impact of villa tourism and festivals/heritage tourism here, and the potential impact of educational tourism if we could get a full replacement for the American University of the Caribbean. We must note, that while cruise ship visitors normally send at a lower per day rate (and are here for just one day), they still make a valuable economic contribution.

Where, whatever we may prefer, that’s where a good slice of the global and regional tourism markets have gone. 

In effect, a cruise ship is a floating, mobile, highly secure – read that: “safe” – all-inclusive hotel that visits sites in several territories while operating as an attraction in itself. That’s one reason why cruise-ship docks and day tour packages have become so important for regional destinations. So, we are going to have to answer the question, what do we have on our cultural heritage and nature heritage or duty-free shopping “trails” that is uniquely attractive?

This is not an easy questions to answer, but it will help us as we define and refine our tourism product.

[1]           See GoM: http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Growth-Strategy-Delivery-Plan-2017-DRAFT-.pdf

[2]               See GoM: http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Draft-Final-Report-6-July-2012.pdf

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How can we build on the tourism facts highlighted in the December 15, 2017 Mott-MacDonald Draft Economic Growth Strategy?

BRADES, Montserrat – The December 15, 2017 Mott-MacDonald Draft Economic Growth Strategy document[1] shows that several of our neighbouring territories host about a million tourists per year, mostly as cruise ship visitors. According to this report, St Kitts-Nevis has over a million visitors, with over nine hundred thousand being cruise ship passengers; average spending per tourist is EC$ 354. Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism industry hosts nearly nine hundred thousand, with just under eighty thousand being overnight visitors; the per tourist spend being EC$ 405. For Anguilla, there are a hundred and seventy-six thousand visitors, and per visitor spend is $2020. 

As further background, it is useful to look at the 2012 draft Montserrat Tourism Development Plan[2]:

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Prior to 1995, tourism was a significant contributor to the economy, representing between 20% and 36% of the national [economic] output (GDP [= Gross Domestic Product]). With the destruction of a considerable proportion of the island’s natural resource base and infrastructure, coupled with concerns about safety, tourism industry was decimated and now accounts for less that 5% of the economy (GDP).

Despite the reduction of available landscape, Montserrat still maintains its distinctive charm, based on the intimacy of its size, the friendliness of its people, the peace & tranquility, safety & security and the relaxed/easy pace of life. The challenge is to build a tourism industry around these fundamental strengths . . . .

In 2011 there were just over 6,400 stay-over arrivals to Montserrat. In addition there were just under 2,000 excursionists and a similar number of yacht visitors. We estimate total expenditure by visitors to have been about EC$ 17M in 2011, contributing between 3.5% and 5% to the national economy (GDP). The stock of accommodation is just 250 rooms, mostly in villas (146) – virtually the same as a decade ago in 2001.

From the current Mott-McDonald study, we have now grown from about ten thousand four hundred visitors per year c. 2011 spending EC$ 1635 on average, to a bit under sixteen thousand visitors, with somewhat less than nine thousand of these being overnight. Current per visitor expenditure is EC$ 1449.  That implies a total expenditure of about EC$ 22.7 millions. Stay-over visitors fell from about 61% in 2011 to now 56%, reflecting a rise in the relative importance of day trippers; which probably also affects spend per visitor. This pattern suggests the impact of villa tourism and festivals/heritage tourism here, and the potential impact of educational tourism if we could get a full replacement for the American University of the Caribbean. We must note, that while cruise ship visitors normally send at a lower per day rate (and are here for just one day), they still make a valuable economic contribution.

Where, whatever we may prefer, that’s where a good slice of the global and regional tourism markets have gone. 

In effect, a cruise ship is a floating, mobile, highly secure – read that: “safe” – all-inclusive hotel that visits sites in several territories while operating as an attraction in itself. That’s one reason why cruise-ship docks and day tour packages have become so important for regional destinations. So, we are going to have to answer the question, what do we have on our cultural heritage and nature heritage or duty-free shopping “trails” that is uniquely attractive?

This is not an easy questions to answer, but it will help us as we define and refine our tourism product.

[1]           See GoM: http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Growth-Strategy-Delivery-Plan-2017-DRAFT-.pdf

[2]               See GoM: http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Draft-Final-Report-6-July-2012.pdf