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Tourism Statistics Show May a Good Month for Territory

Aug. 17, 2006 – May was a good month for tourism, according to Bureau of Economic Research Director Lauritz Mills.
Overall tourism was up 4 percent over the previous May, with a total of 182,729 people arriving compared to 175,642 in May 2005, Mills said in a news release issued Wednesday.
"We're healthy," said Tourism Department marketing director Steve Bornn on Thursday.
Bornn said the positive outcome for May shows the Tourism Department and its private-sector partners are doing something right.
The number of cruise ship passengers arriving climbed by 6 percent over last May. All of the 124,800 cruise ship passengers sailed into the St. Thomas-St. John district.
Mills said that this was the first time in the past five months that cruise ship arrivals were up. The number rose to 124,800 from 117,759 in May 2005.
She said the increase is expected to continue over the summer months.
The number of air arrivals went up only slightly to 57,929 from 57,883 last May.
St. Croix showed a 1.6 percent increase in air visitors during May, with the number rising to 12,343 from 12,147 the previous May.
The number of air visitors flying into St. Thomas fell by 0.3 percent, with the number dropping to 45,585 from 45,736 the previous May.
The May hotel occupancy rate averaged 64.9 percent, up 4 percent over the previous year. The rate for St. Croix went up to 53.2 percent compared to 50 percent in May 2005.
On St. Thomas-St. John, the hotel occupancy rate hit 68.5 percent this May compared to 64.3 percent last year.
Room revenues went to $2.2 million compared to $1.8 million in May 2005, a gain of 28 percent.
While May looked good, Mills said the period that ran from January to May showed a drop in visitor arrivals because of fewer cruise ship passengers.
A total of 1.3 million visitors arrived between January and the end of May. This represents a drop of 6.8 percent over the previous May.
Cruise ship arrivals fell by 9.1 percent in the January to May period to 920,537 from 1 million in the same period last year. The number of ships arriving also fell by 12.8 percent, with 414 calling between January and the end of May.
The number of air visitors remained steady at 338,165 in the January through May period.

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