Meyers pleased with increase in global tourism travel figures

POSTED: 05/16/11 12:29 PM

“Maintain a spirit of optimism.”

St. Maarten – Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications Franklin Meyers, is pleased to learn that international tourism continues to recover from the global financial crisis and downturn of 2008-09, with figures rising in every region of the world except the Middle East and North Africa. International tourist arrivals grew by almost five per cent to more than 124 million in January and February this year compared to the same period in 2010, according to United Nations (UN) World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) figures released last week.
South America and South Asia were the best performers, with international visitor numbers leaping by 15 per cent in both regions, while Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Eastern Europe respectively posted strong gains of 13 per cent and 12 per cent. Europe overall performed better than expected, partly because of travel redirected to Southern and Mediterranean Europe following the unrest in many nations in North Africa and the Middle East, where visitor numbers slumped by nine and 10 percent respectively. Receipts from international tourism are estimated to have topped $919 billion dollars last year, up from $851 billion dollars a year earlier.
“The latest data indicated according to the UNWTO that the tourism sector is consolidating the recovery began last year. For our country, we hope that 2011 will be a better year for us for stay-over visitors, but the United States is still fighting to recover. Government has taken a number of initiatives to solidify our own tourism based economy by looking at developing relationships with our tourism neighbours and also looking for additional airlift besides increasing current airlift to the destination,” Meyers wrote in a statement.
The Minister added, “Our country has also been impacted by the global economic recession, but at a later stage than when the global economic decline first began. However we are a resilient nation and we shall overcome the external shocks of high fuel prices and other challenges that come our way. As we approach the low season, let us use the time to look at new opportunities and innovations to move our country forward. I urge all St. Maarteners to maintain a spirit of optimism.”
“Everybody has a role to play in society and we must together confront our socio-economic challenges head-on. It is due to the collective spirit and response that we as a country are able to overcome and move forward together,” Meyers also said on Sunday.
St. Maarten has recorded increases in the number of people visiting from Europe, North and South America and the rest of the world when looking at tourism figures over a period of years up until and including 2010.

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