Halfway through 2018, Grenada is outpacing its record tourism numbers from last year, according to Pure Grenada. Cruise visitors, stayover nights and yacht arrivals, combined, have contributed to a 21.2 percent increase in travelers; in numbers, Grenada has increased from 259,218 to 314,216 over the same period in 2017. The latest Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) statistics, released in June, rank Grenada top-three in terms of increased tourist arrivals from main markets in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Stayover arrivals increased by 10.7 percent, going from 71, 682 to 79,371. With the largest market, the U.S., showing an 18.11 percent percent increase year-to-date (31,564 to 37,281). The U.S. market share is over 50 percent in June and the largest markets within the U.S. were New York, Florida and New Jersey. Canada showed growth of 8.56 percent (7,912 to 8,589), the Caribbean region grew 5.78 percent (12,639 to 13,370), and the U.K.’s growth remained flat (13,285 to 13,200).
News from the cruise industry was equally positive. The sector grew by 26.52 percent, with passengers increasing from 173,989 to 220,125. This increase was recorded despite a slight decrease (-0.64 percent) in cruise ship calls for the first half of 2018 compared to 2017. The CTO statistics ranked Grenada fourth for positive growth in cruise passenger arrivals behind Bermuda, Curacao and Martinique. The yachting sector also saw an increase in arrivals (by 9 percent, from 13,547 to 14,767), with the number of yacht calls increasing by 8.51 percent from 3,290 to 3,570.
To accommodate the increase in tourism demand, a number of airline partners have increased flights to the island. From New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, JetBlue has announced a daily service through September 4, 2018, with increased capacity from August 15 to September 4 via a larger aircraft. Additional airlift out of New York will include two non-stop Caribbean Airlines flights in August, while Delta Air Lines announced two additional flights from Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport in August. From Canada, airlift capacity has doubled from Toronto Pearson International, and Air Canada Rouge has announced an additional flight increasing the service to two weekly flights through August.
In all, flight calls to the destination (2,260) for the first half of the year had increased by 24.6 percent over the same period in 2017 (1,814), with notable increases from Air Canada, LIAT and private aircrafts.