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Caribbean’s cruise tourism share slipping


rhondathompson, [email protected]

Caribbean’s cruise tourism share slipping

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Barbados and other Caribbean countries stand to lose a greater share of the world tourism cake if they don’t keep refreshing their offering to holiday-makers.
Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson delivered this warning yesterday at a seminar on Branding For Cruise Destinations at Hilton Barbados.
He reported that Barbados was catering to more tourists who started and ended a cruise in the island, with these arrivals climbing from 137 064 in 2008 to 153 875 last year.
Barbados’ earnings from overall cruise tourism were also rising and had reached $78 million last year, Hutson said.
“We must not, however, take these achievements for granted, especially given the growth and appeal of cruise tourism worldwide,” he asserted.
He pointed out that while the region remained the world’s most popular cruise destination, there had been “a substantial loss of market share”.
That share has dropped from 46.69 per cent in 2006, to 41.02 per cent in 2007, to 37.25 per cent in 2008 and 37.02 per cent last year, he said.
The minister added that the evidence suggested that the Mediterranean and Europe were the new growth markets for the cruise industry.
Against this backdrop, Hutson said: “We must continue to develop creative and innovative means of sustaining the industry’s development.
“Consequently, we need to implement strategies to continually develop and redevelop the various components of our tourism product offering.”
He noted that larger cruise vessels now under construction were being designed to give cruise passengers “a total holiday experience onboard the vessel”, including some of what the region offered.
He said Barbados was moving to tackle some of its tourism challenges.
Initiatives planned include some aimed at encouraging ships to stay longer in port, he reported, adding that Government also proposed to expand the opportunities to offer “homeport options”. (TY)

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