Jan-Feb numbers released by the VI Bureau of Economic Research are encouraging and show improvement for January and February, compared to last year.

In January, visitor arrivals in the territory were up by 10 percent compared to January 2009. In February arrivals rose by 6.8 percent compared to last year.

Total air arrivals grew by 9.3 percent — an increase of about 6,000 people — in January compared to the same period last year. On St. Croix air traffic grew by more than 30 percent. Allegra Kean-Moorehead, V.I. Tourism Department spokeswoman, said the numbers reflect the steady growth since September in air travel to St. Croix.

St. Croix’s cruise ship visitors also have been growing steadily. In January 2009, about 5,400 people visited St. Croix by cruise ship. In 2010, that number grew to almost 22,000. “St. Croix tourism industry continues to rebound as evident from the growth in visitor arrivals observed over the past several months,” the Bureau of Economic Research report said.

Kean-Moorehead said the growth seen in early 2010 is evidence of marketing efforts made during the economic downturn. “Our ongoing effort to promote the Virgin Islands in the past year, it’s really starting to pay off now that consumers are resuming their travel,” she said.

(resource: VirginIslandDailyNews.com)