‘Flat’ start to tourism
CRUISE FIGURES ARE up while spending is down, and this year’s overall tourism arrivals have so far been “flat”.
According to president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), Patricia Affonso-Dass, 2014 has started with an overall flat position or “a mere 0.8 per cent up or 755 additional visitors over 2013”, but January had recorded a 3.2 per cent increase – the first in more than a year.
Dass noted that February had registered a decrease of 2.1 per cent, but the BHTA had not yet seen arrival figures for this month.
“But I’m certain that the first two weeks of March would have seen positive growth based on the influx of visitors for sporting events such as the Sandy Lane Gold Cup, polo, the T20 cricket and the horrible weather in North America,” she told those gathered at the BHTA’s quarterly meeting yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Noting that tourism last year had declined by 5.2 per cent – 27 975 fewer visitors than in 2012 – Dass said projections for 2014 were showing some “soft” periods in April, the summer and autumn. However, the BHTA’s marketing committee had been meeting more often to create offers and initiatives to bring business to Barbados, she added.