Sue Springer, executive director of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), is forecasting a buoyant cruise season for October 2013 to October 2014. Springer said the association was already seeing improvements with an increase in the number of cruise ships scheduled to berth at the Bridgetown Port over the coming months. She said that as a result the number of cruise passengers to Barbados was expected to rise to around 770 000 at the end of October 2014, compared to the 650 000 recorded so far this year. Springer made the comments while delivering the administrative report of the BHTA yesterday at the association’s third quarterly general meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. She said the cruise ships, Azura and Ventura, would be returning to the Bridgetown Port starting next month. That will run for 22 weeks. Horizon, from the French cruise line Pullmantur, would be returning to the island after a hiatus of five years. It is expected to make weekly calls starting next month. Quantum Of The Seas is expected to make calls here in 2014. Springer told the room of industry players that it was critical to get the passengers off the ships and out of the port so they could spend more on the island. Following a dismal performance of tourist arrivals for the first nine months of this year and an imminent cut in American Airline flights out of JFK, Springer said the BHTA was working around the clock to secure flights from new markets as well as to increase flights from existing ones. She said while some airlines were expected to increase the number of flights to the island, discussions were ongoing with others to do the same. “We do have some very exciting new airlifts. Thomas Cook charter with Condor will fly twice per week from Manchester commencing on November 10. That is great news. This will help in bringing access to the Scottish market. The Scottish market is a good one for us in the UK,” said Springer.