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BTA: Visitors up

Gercine Carter

BTA: Visitors up

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Barbados’ tourism has recorded an “amazing” performance for the first quarter of the year with visitor arrivals numbering over 211 000,  accounting for 60 per cent of the island’s foreign exchange earned for the period.
So good are these first-quarter statistics that the chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), Adrian Elcock, projected a three per cent overall growth in tourism for the year if current trends continued.
Elcock has attributed the increased numbers to “a comprehensive marketing programme in all markets”, with “brand Barbados” being given high visibility everywhere.
Delivering a media update on the tourism performance at Dover Beach Hotel yesterday, the BTA?chairman said, “We have done well . . . We have been able to deliver over 20 000 more visitors for the period than for the same period last year.”
Giving a breakdown, Elcock said there was a “double-digit” growth rate out of Britain, while additional airlift out of the United States had resulted in more Americans making use of flights from areas such as Dallas, Fort Worth, bringing the southern and western United States consumer into the market, while loads from a traditional area like New York had been boosted by expanded airlift from airline Jet Blue.
In the case of Canada, Elcock said Barbados continued to draw business from “two platforms” – business and leisure – and had deployed personnel to western Canada, a potential source of more Canadian business. 
The BTA’s European office was forging ahead to build Barbados’ image in that market, from which the island was recording extended stay by its visitors. 
Elcock also disclosed that some European airlines would be operating special charters to Barbados for short periods this year. 
The chairman said Barbados had done “exceedingly well” with visitor arrivals from the Caribbean, one of Barbados’ largest source markets, third only to Canada and the United States.
He attributed that success to more events here and to Barbados’ sports-based tourism, which both served to attract large numbers of Caribbean visitors.
Elcock believed “the buzz that is around” with the pending arrival of low-cost airline REDjet would influence even “stronger numbers” coming out of the Caribbean market”.