The objective of this study was to help improve planning and policy-making for tourism development for the member states, on behalf of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States countries and the European Union. This was to be pursued through the development of a harmonised methodological and institutional framework that allowed the participating countries to collect, organise, report and use the statistical data necessary for tourism market intelligence work and related policy actions.
Our approach to this project was strongly based on consultations with the national tourism authorities (NTAs) and other stakeholders in each of the nine member states. Initial visits were made to each country to meet with the NTAs as well as the national statistics organisations and hotel and tourism associations to understand their tourism intelligence needs.
This was followed up by a regional workshop that was attended by all interested stakeholders to present a range of solutions that would deliver improved intelligence for all countries in the group. The outcome of the workshop was a decision on which solutions to develop over the duration of the project. The selected solutions were a tracking system to measure inbound arrivals and a digital visitor survey system for capturing information from air, ferry and cruise arrivals.
The final stage of the project, once the system had been developed, was to re-visit all nine member states to undertake training sessions covering its implementation and use. These included undertaking pilot surveys of visitors at airports, ferry and cruise terminals.
The project has been a considerable success for many countries in the OECS region, with it being used to track visitor arrivals and undertake surveys of departing visitors. Destinations such as Grenada have started measuring the levels of expenditure of yacht visitors for the first time, enabling a greater understanding of their impact on the economy.
St. Lucia has adopted the visitor arrivals tracking system, which will enable the growth of specific markets to be clearly identified, and also track changes in visitor and trip characteristics such as age, gender and purpose of visit.