(from WIC News): A comparison of Grenada’s tourism figures from 2015 to 2017 shows a decline that has been labelled significant, with some senior figures fearing the effect on the country’s economy.

A comparison of the high season – November to April – shows a sharp decline across two areas and only tiny growth in the third.

Grenada’s cruise arrivals between the start of November 2016 and the end of April 2017 fell by 12.81% compared to the November 2015 to April 2017 period.

This is a drop from 316,778 people to 276,203.

In April 2017 alone there was a 47% drop on the previous year’s figures.

The government has not responded to repeated requests by WIC News for comment.

Nazim Burke, leader of the National Democratic Congress party – Grenada’s de facto opposition – did speak to WIC News.

“I don’t know how they are going to explain this but the fact is that overall, in every single month for the 2016-2017 period, cruise arrivals were less then the 2015-2016 period.”

Unimpressive reading

An even bigger percentage drop was felt by yachting arrivals between 2016-2016, with numbers falling by 16.35% compared to the previous year.

An increase was seen in the number of stay-over visitors – but not by much.

The latest figures show 0.47% growth from 72,604 to 72,945 – just over 300 extra visitors staying in Grenada.

One source with links to the tourism ministry in Grenada, who asked not to be named, described small growth as “really nothing”.

Dearth of funding

The same source, speaking to WIC News in June, called on the government to invest more into the tourism sector.

Funding should be given to sectors on the ground – including facilities and employee training – as well as external elements, such as addressing the “often unreliable nature of LIAT”.

In Grenada’s supplementary budget, EC$6.2 million was allocated to the Office of the Prime Minister, whereas the tourism ministry was only given EC$144,820.

This was the lowest financial boost of any ministries listed in the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2017.

“Tourism gets such a small amount. This is a sorry situation when it is said that tourism is the driving force of the economy,” said Burke.

“If you are really concerned about job creation. If you are really concerned about the future growth and development of the economy. And about employing young people, and about sustainable development. If your focus is not just on trying to buy votes leading up to the election, the future growth, then the $6.2 million should have gone to tourism and the $144,820 would have gone to the prime minister’s ministry.”