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Rosy winter season

Natasha Beckles

Rosy winter season

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The 2011/2012 winter tourist season is shaping up to be anything but cold for hoteliers and operators of tourist attractions.  
In fact, Intimate Hotels of Barbados chairman Jeff Kinch said it may be one of the best seasons the group of over 40 hotels, guesthouses and villas has seen in its 11 years.
Kinch said a survey of 18 members revealed that six were currently at capacity, two were 90 per cent occupied and five were more than 80 per cent booked.
The other five reported over 60 per cent occupancy.
Furthermore, Howard Friedman, chief executive officer of the Elegant Hotels Group – which includes Colony Club, Crystal Cove, Tamarind, Turtle Beach and The House – told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY forward bookings for the season were 15 per cent above last year.
“I think as a group we are beginning to reap the rewards from the substantial renovations we undertook.
“While the market hasn’t grown, our share has,” Friedman said, explaining that the group was “stealing” some of the market share of “competitors who haven’t invested as much”.
The CEO noted that even after increasing room rates, the group’s average occupancy in December was around 70 per cent while this month is expected to average between 65 and 70 per cent, with February projected to reach 70 per cent.
Meanwhile Simone Nurse, assistant operations manager of the Barbados Concorde Experience, said the season was going “better than expected” with the number of visitors coming to tour the exhibit slightly higher than last year.
Veronica Millington, marketing manager of Harrison’s Cave, also noted that there had been more visitors so far this year than in the same period in 2011.
However, the Barbados Museum and Historical Society’s marketing officer, Christine Franklyn, said visits up to end of December 2011 were “pretty comparable” to 2010 although “slightly down”.
She noted that while 2010 figures showed an improvement since the start of global recession, they were not back to pre-2008 levels.
“Over the Christmas period there was a nice pick of sales in the museum shop, which has been redesigned.
“This shows that tourists are more comfortable with spending than they were before,” she said.

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