Grenada has achieved “phenomenal” double-digit growth for global tourism arrivals in 2018, the chief executive of its tourism body has claimed.
Speaking to TTG@WTM, Patricia Maher, chief executive of the Grenada Tourism Authority, said total visitor arrivals were up by more than 20% year-on-year, based on arrivals from January to September this year.
The figures include a rise in the number of overnight stays, which grew from 109,289 to 120,793, an increase of more than 10%.
Also on the rise was Grenada’s cruise market, with passenger visitor numbers jumping from 176,734 in 2017 to 224,759 in 2018, a spike of 27%.
The growth means Grenada is on course to hit its target of welcoming 500,000 international visitors in 2018 - a new record for the destination.
Maher said Grenada was continuing a “hot streak of growth” after record international tourism growth numbers for the destination were also recorded in 2017.
UK figures were up by 3% year-on year in 2018, though August numbers were up by 35% due to the popularity of Spicemas, the destination’s annual carnival.
“Grenada’s soca music is really trending now, and visitors who want to join in for carnival don’t need to register, unlike in some other Caribbean countries,” said Maher.
She added the country would continue to promote its culture, food and local experiences in 2019, under its “Free to Wonder” tagline.
The island’s chocolate production continues to be a big draw for visitors, with five factories around the country offering “tree to bar” experiences.
Aimed at foodie visitors, Grenada will also celebrate its sixth annual Chocolate Fest next year, taking place from May 31 to June 7.
Eco tourism is also a key focus for Grenada, which recently revealed plans to ban all single-use plastics by February 1, 2019, which Maher described as a “tourism-driven decision.” The ban extends to plastic shopping bags, cutlery and straws.
Meanwhile new hotels in the pipeline include the luxury Silversands Grenada, which will open on December 1 on Grand Anse Beach, and the 200-room Kimpton Kawana Bay, scheduled to open in 2020 also on Grand Anse Beach.