Visitor arrivals to Tobago continue to rise and are expected to cross the one-million mark this year for the first time in history, the Tobago House of Assembly Airlift Committee headed by former tourism and transportation secretary Neil Wilson has said.
Wilson, who is now senior adviser in the Division of Tourism and Transportation, disclosed in a report to Chief Secretary Orville London that, as of March 23, total arrivals to the sister island increased by over 14 per cent.
In 2011, the arrivals totalled 939,019. He said with a seven per cent overall increase in 2012, for the first time in history, arrivals to Tobago would have exceeded more than one million passengers.
Wilson said, for the second consecutive month in 2012, Tobago's visitor arrival figures- both domestic and international- have shown marked increases over the same period in 2011.
Arrivals by the inter-island ferry service in January 2011 were 33,530 and in 2012 arrivals were 34,530, an increase of 4.4 per cent while on the airbridge, arrivals in January 2011 were 24,423 as against 27,185 in 2012, an increase of 11.3 per cent.
In February 2011 there were 32,689 passengers using the ferry service to Tobago, while in 2012 there were 38,879 users, an increase of 19 per cent. A total of 22,290 passengers used the air bridge in February 2011 and in 2012 that figure went up to 28,173, an increase of 26.4 per cent.
Wilson said international arrivals in January 2011 were 3,095 and in 2012 there was an increase of 3.7 per cent to reach 3,209; in February 2011 international arrivals stood at 3,476, while there was an increase of 24.3 per cent to 4,321 in 2012.
He noted that even the vehicles carried by the ferry from Trinidad increased in January and February, as compared to the corresponding months in 2011. The increases were 1.5 per cent in 2011 and 11.5 per cent in February 2012.
Chief Secretary London described the increase in visitor arrivals in a statement yesterday as an "encouraging trend" and said there was a level of hope that things were improving. He added that the increased bookings as a result of the Tourism Division's "Go Go" campaign had shown a marked improvement and he remained "cautiously optimistic" for the future.
London said there was nothing to celebrate but hopefully there was not all doom and gloom in Tobago's tourism sector.