Anguilla records positive tourism growth

December 2003 recorded the highest number of visitors for the month of December to visit Anguilla since 1994. 11,500 visitors arrived in Anguilla during this month, which represented an increase of 11.7% compared to December 2002. The large number of visitors in December contributed to the highest number of visitors for the last quarter of the year since 1997. In spite of the strength in the last quarter the total number of visitors in 2003 was actually lower than in 2002 by 1.7% mainly due to weakness in the first half of the year. Total visitors numbered 109,282 in 2003.

Tourist arrivals in December set a record for the month of December with a total of 5,773. The number of tourists increased by 16.1% over December last year. The last quarter of 2003 and the year as a whole were also the strongest ever for tourists, recording an increase of 15.9% over the final quarter of 2002. The percentage increase in tourist for the year as a whole was slightly weaker at 6.7% largely due to the weak first quarter of 2003. The total number of tourists visiting Anguilla in 2003 was 46,915.

Tourists arriving in December tend to stay longer than those who arrive at other times during the year. 53% said that they planned to stay for more than a week compared to 45% who on average stay for more than a week during the year as a whole.

The USA contributed to the largest market share at 67% of arrivals, it was a smaller portion than for the year as a whole when the USA represented 71% of tourists. Other countries showing significant contributions to visitor arrivals were the United Kingdom with 6% and Canada 4%.