Carnival visitors to Trinidad and Tobago spend about US$1,415.50 each, according to a Central Statistical Office (CSO) statement yesterday.
In Trinidad and Tobago dollars, at the official exchange rate of $6.78 a US$1, that is about $9,597 per person.
The CSO based its numbers on a survey conducted last year, that it said it will repeat this year during the first ten days of Lent, March 1-10.
“The CSO administered the Survey of Departing Visitors (SODV) for the ten days subsequent to Carnival Tuesday (February 10-19, 2016) with a view to monitoring the expenditure patterns of visitors for the Carnival period in both Trinidad and Tobago,” the statement said.
“A total of 2,903 persons were surveyed for the SODV with an average expenditure per visitor reported as approximately $9,597 over the period February 10-19, 2016. When the average visitor expenditure ($9,597.00) is factored into the total visitor arrivals (35,483 persons), the estimated visitor expenditure for the Carnival period for Trinidad and Tobago is $340,530,351.00. It should be noted that this figure is only representative of visitor expenditure and not necessarily total contribution of Carnival to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Trinidad and Tobago,” the State agency added.
However, the number of visitor arrivals used in the above CSO calculation for Carnival 2016 was extrapolated from a different period (January 22 to February 9, 2016) and by a different agency (the Immigration Division of the Ministry of National Security). The January 22 to February 9, 2016 period “included the 17 days prior to the Carnival celebration as well as Carnival Monday and Tuesday,” the CSO said.
“The total visitor arrivals for the Carnival period to Trinidad and Tobago in 2016 was 35,483 persons. The week immediately preceding Carnival Monday and Tuesday (February 1-7, 2016) registered 17,925 visitor arrivals or almost 50 per cent of the total arrivals for the period. The largest number of visitors during this week was recorded on Carnival Thursday (February 4, 2016): 3,267 visitors,” said the CSO. From January 22 to February 9, 2016, the total visitor arrivals to Trinidad was 33,471 and to Tobago, 2,012.
How does this compare to tourist spending in other Caribbean islands? Tourist spending, as an indicator, is rendered by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) on a ‘per day’ basis. Using CSO logic, dividing $9,597 by 19 days means the average Carnival visitor to T&T spends about $505.11 per day, which is about US$74 per day at the official exchange rate. Looking at neighbouring Barbados, according to a CTO July 11, 2016 statement, visitors from the USA market spent US$240.78 on average per day. The CTO said at the “vast majority of hotel accommodation with the exception of all-inclusive properties, the largest average daily spend” was US$305.69 per day.