Montserrat can boast of an increase in visitor arrivals to the island in 2019, much of which can be attributed to the cruise sector.
According to the data released on Tuesday by Statistics Montserrat, a total of 20,956 people visited the island in 2019. This was a 14.27% increase over the 2018 figure of 18,338.
The visitor numbers are further broken down into tourists, excursionists (day trippers), cruise and yachting travelers. There were 10,402 tourists in 2019, a 170-person increase over 2018. Excursionists accounted for 2100 of the total figure, which was 97 less than the previous year. Yachts brought in 1633 visitors, which was 18 more than in 2018. The largest increase was in the cruise sector with 6821 visitors. A 58.8% increase over the 4,294 who arrived here the year before.
The month of March brought 2,955 visitors last year, a 170 person increase over 2018. In December, 93 more people came to the island than the 1206 in 2018.
Visitors from the OECS account for the majority of people who came to Montserrat with 2854 in 2019. This was closely followed by UK travellers with 2825 in 2019 and 2871 in 2018. Visitors from Canadian residents also decreased in 2019 from 657 in 2018 to 542. In 2019, 2,641 travellers arrived from the US, a 230 person increase over the previous year.
Most excursionists were also from the OECS with 882, an 113 person drop over 2018. These arrivals could be attributed to the ferry visits from Guadeloupe and special trips from Nevis.
The Star Legend and Star Pride brought the most visitors to Montserrat in 2019 where as it was the Silver Wind and Windsurf vessels the year before.
Most visitors to island are in the 50 to 64 age group. There were 2,908 in this category in 2019 and 2978 in 2018. The second highest age range are the 30 to 39 year-olds with 1788 in 2019 and 1696 in 2018. The 40 to 49 year-olds account for 1705 in 2018 and 1750 in 2019. Travellers 65 and over and those in the range of 20 to 29 also accounted for more than 1000 people each.
As has been the trend, most visitors stay in private homes. In 2018 this was 6144 and 7157 in 2019. Guest houses follow with 2173 in 2018 and 1352 in 2019, a 37.78% decrease. Hotel stays also dropped from 887 to 744 in 2019. This was also the case for villa stays from 596 in 2018 to 428 in 2019. Travelers staying in apartments increased from 400 in 2018 to 677 last year.
Leisure, friends/relatives and business were the top three reasons that visitors came to Montserrat in both years.