CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas -- The numbers tell the stories.

Tourism statistics for the U.S. Virgin Islands from January through April show a 7.7% hike in air arrivals and an 11% increase in cruise passengers, compared with the same period a year ago.

In April alone, air arrivals grew 29.2% compared with a year ago, which officials at the V.I. Bureau of Economic Research attributed to St. Thomas Carnival celebrations. Cruise traffic increased a modest 1.7% that month, which marked the end of the peak cruise season in the Caribbean.

Total air and sea figures for the U.S.V.I. from January through April came to more than 1.09 million visitors.

Good news also was reported from Belize where air arrivals jumped 7% from January through May to approximately 80,000, while the cruise sector increased a whopping 71.9% in the same period, to 395,102 passengers.

From the Cayman Islands comes word of a 13.4% jump in air arrivals, to 154,364 visitors, and a 14.2% rise in cruise passengers, to 940,236, from January through May as compared to the same period a year ago.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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