Mixed Indicators for First Quarter of 2002
Chief Minister and Minister responsible for Tourism the Honourable Ralph T.
O'Neal said Tuesday that the first quarter of the 2002 tourist season
witnessed mixed indicators.
He made the remarks as he presented a statement during the 2nd sitting of
the 2nd session of the 14th Legislative Council.
"Tourist activity is one of the main drivers of the BVI economy and it
represents the most dynamic sector in terms of linkages with the other
productive and supportive areas," he began. He pointed out that the tourist
sector is the largest employer and biggest net generator of earnings from
Overnight arrivals for the first quarter of 2002 were 101,443 persons. The
average expenditure was $1011.75 per person. The average length of stay was
9 days. The occupancy rate was 72%. The number of tourist nights was 913,000.
"The first quarter 2002 witnessed mixed sectoral indicators, including
drops in overnight arrivals, total visitor expenditure and average
expenditure per overnight visitor, due to USA source market conditions and
domestic conditions in the British Virgin Islands," the Tourism Minister
stated. "On the other hand, average length of stay, rooms and beds
available, occupancy rate and the number of tourist nights available all
showed good improvement compared to the reference quarter of 2001."
He said a comparison of the review period to the reference quarter reveals
an 8.1% drop in overnight visitor arrivals to 101,443. He said the relevant
figures for the first quarter of the year 1999 and 2000 were 90,952 and
However, according to the Chief Minister, visitor arrivals, including
cruise ship passengers and excursionists amounted to 215,901, representing
increases of 23.4%, 15.1% and 49.9% over 1990, 2000 and 2001 respectively.
During the review period, visitors average expenditure amounted to
$1011.75, down 7.5% from the $1093.30 observed for the like period of 2001.
"This drop in per capita expenditure is attributed to the heavy discounting
on rates to boost occupancies as a carry over from the 9/11 terrorist
attacks on the United States," said Hon. O'Neal.
During the review period, 61.9% of visitors to the territory originated
from the United States market.
The BVI Chief Minister said encouraging results during the review quarter
include a 12.5% rise in the average length of stay from eight to nine days
and a 1.4% expansion in the number of hotel rooms on the market from 1331
Although the number of tourist nights rose 3.4% from 883,136 to 912,987
last year as a result of the 12.5% jump in the average length of stay, the
total visitor expenditure fell 7.5% from $120.7M to $111.7M. He said this
was due mostly to the discounting of winter high season rates to ensure
financially sustainable occupancy levels.
"Mr. Speaker, the USA and European market shares of visitors were
maintained at 61.9 and 25.4% respectively between the review and the
reference period," the Chief Minister reported.
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