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Tourism Figures for the French West Indies

The Office Départemental du Tourisme de la Guadeloupe keeps track of tourism throughout the French West Indies. According to the O.D.T., 80% of the tourists on St. Martin and 60% of the tourists on St. Barth are American.

While those figures seem close, there are major differences. On St. Martin, you can get KFC chicken, a Whopper from the Burger King, and so on. There are no American fast food franchises on St. Bart. On St. Martin, there are uniformed security men in shiny black patent leather shoes patrolling the clothing- optional beach to discourage gawkers. On St. Bart, there are no men who own patent leather shoes.

On Guadeloupe in 1992, 79% of the tourists were from France, 12% were from other European countries, less than 6% were from the USA, and the remainder were from elsewhere. As we mention in other pages, it is likely that you will meet only a few other native English speakers in a week's stay on Guadeloupe. If there are Americans on your flight to Point-à-Pitre, you can bet that at the airport they will hail a cab to Club Med, and you will never see them again.

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