Réunion Island has recorded growth in visitor numbers and spend for the first half of 2018.

According to research undertaken by the Réunion Tourism Board, the Indian Ocean island recorded an 11% increase in visitor arrivals between January and June, translating to 241 579 visitors. January alone saw 58 771 arrivals.

The report indicates that 92% of all tourist arrivals are for leisure, with only 8% business travellers. The average length of stay this year is similar to 2017, at 17 days.

French visitors continue to make up the bulk of arrivals (79% of the total number) with 191 145 arrivals – 24 276 more than last year. Other key source markets include the Indian Ocean islands, which make up 13% of total arrivals, and Europe (excluding France) at 6%. According to the report, most of the European market is made up of Belgian, German and Swiss travellers.

In terms of accommodation, 50.7% of total arrivals chose traditional commercial accommodation, of which 21% stayed in star-graded hotels. Seasonal rentals have grown in popularity, with 19.5% of visitors opting for this option, up from 14% last year.

Cruise tourism is also growing. In the first half of this year, 22 cruise ships anchored at Réunion, compared with 15 last year. This marks 23 000 passengers arriving at the island.

Finally, the growth in total numbers has meant a large increase in tourism earnings for the island. With average expenditure at around €803 per person, the island recorded earnings of €190 million between January and June. Last year, tourists were spending an average of €652 each. With goals set at €365 million in earnings for the year, the report indicates that this target should be met easily by December.