Nation e-Edition

Visitor tally up 4.1%

Visitor tally up 4.1% Director of Marketing Services at the Barbados Tourism Authority, Averil Byer (left), talking with Minister Richard Sealy (Kenmore Bynoe)

Sat, October 09, 2010 - 7:15 PM

Barbados is projecting an improvement in tourism over last year, with visitor arrivals for the year to date already up by 4.1 per cent.

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said yesterday that the island was showing some recovery from the poor performance of the “decline years” 2008 and 2009, and expressed optimism for the sector’s future performance.

He suggested that increased promotional efforts in the source markets were already showing positive results.

The minister reported “good growth” numbers from Barbados’ two major markets, with a “significant increase” of just under 20 per cent in arrivals from North America, and a 21 per cent increase out of Canada for the year to date.

The minister gave the tourism outlook for Barbados while addressing local and regional journalists at a Press conference at the Savannah Hotel on the eve of a major two-day conference of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation being hosted in Barbados.

And he stressed the importance of exploring and developing emerging markets, using the example of Barbados’ recent foray into Brazil and overtures being made to China as a potential market. 

However, Sealy expressed concern over the continuing decline in the British market, saying he was “terribly troubled”.

“Our UK numbers continue to be in decline, 8.1 per cent, a big worry for us, because not only is it our largest market but it is also the market where most of our visitor spend comes from,” he stated.

The minister said initiatives were being considered to reverse that situation, while noting Barbados and the region were awaiting the final decision of the new British coalition government on the controversial Airline Passenger Duty being imposed on passengers travelling to the Caribbean.

Sealy also reported a slight decline in visitor arrivals from continental Europe,  down by about 10 per cent, and said Government had done “a lot of deliberate things” to reverse this.

“We are doing several things to try to get those numbers back up” he said, adding that Barbados had embarked on a programme of events which he felt would attract many more visitors even in challenging times. (GC)

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