CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas -- Air and
cruise arrivals to the U.S. Virgin Islands flagged a bit this
summer, while hotel occupancies rose 7% over the same period last
In July, the volume of cruise passengers to
St. Thomas/St. John dropped by almost 25% from July 2004, according
to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Development.
Cruise passengers totaled 94,655, arriving on 29 ships in July,
down from 123,655 passengers who arrived on 40 ships in July
There were no cruise calls in St. Croix in
cruise figures also reflected a decrease of 21% from June 2004. The
passenger total that month was 99,201 versus 126,643 the previous
Tourism officials attributed the cruise drop
in June and July to the redeployment of several cruise ships to
The drop in air arrivals was not so
dramatic. In July in St. Thomas, a dip of 0.6% was recorded, and
the total number of visitors coming by air was 48,090, down
slightly from the 48,401 last July.
However, St. Croixs air arrival figures
fared much better, rising by 8.7%, which officials attributed to
the return of Deltas flights to the island and the addition of two
USAirways weekly flights.
Hotel occupancies throughout the territory
rose on average from 62.8% in July 2004 to 69.6% last July. St.
Thomas/St. John hotels registered occupancies of almost 73% in July
versus 67% in July 2004.
The total number of visitors to the USVI
from January through July was up 2.2% to 1.7 million visitors
compared with 1.6 million for the same period last year.
European visitors accounted for the biggest
increases, followed by visitors from South America, Canada and
The upswing from Europe could be attributed,
in part, to the weak U.S. dollar as well as aggressive marketing
efforts abroad, according to Tourism Department
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