Dominica continues to see improvements in stayover visitor arrivals, signaling a path of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 8,050 stayover visitors were received in the first quarter of 2022, reflecting a 300% increase over the corresponding period in 2021. This performance also represents a 29% increase versus Q4 of 2021. Month-on-month improvements were seen in arrivals, with February arrivals increasing 26% over January and March increasing 15% over February. March 2022 visitor arrivals are the second highest since the advent of the pandemic in 2020, falling below December 2021 by 3%. March 2022 exceeded the corresponding period in 2021 by 309%. The following graph shows the upward trend in quarterly arrivals since the beginning of the pandemic.
There were 110 cruise calls in Q1 2022, a 16% increase over 2020. However, the capacity restrictions observed by cruise lines negatively impacted visitation numbers. Dominica welcomed 70,918 cruise visitors to its shores during the quarter, a major improvement over Q1 2021 when there were zero arrivals. However, this performance represents a 40% decline over the corresponding pre-COVID period (Q1 2020). An upward trend was seen in monthly arrivals, with March having the highest number of arrivals (26,924), an increase of 26% over February.
The significant reduction of COVID-19 cases, the decreased severity of the current strain, and the increased vaccination footprint have resulted in the continuous easing of travel protocols worldwide, bringing travel closer to normalcy. As a result, we expect to see an increase in the number of visitors to the island in the coming months. It is expected that the cruise operators will lift capacity restrictions, which will result in a significant increase in cruise visitations. The ferry continues to operate at normal capacity and the daily direct flights from the US have taken effect. Major marketing initiatives, which include the Year of Health and Wellness (YOHW) and the new and exciting brand, are also expected to boost our tourism offerings. The ease of travel and planned initiatives are expected to further boost tourist arrivals, pointing to a promising future for Dominica’s tourism throughout 2022 and beyond.