BTA head upbeat
MORE THAN 4 000 visitors are expected to converge on the island to be a part of next week’s Top Gear experience.
And chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), Adrian Elcock, said on Monday that he was “cautiously optimistic” that this and other upcoming events would help the local tourism industry to recover from a “flat” first quarter.
“I don’t have the final numbers but over 4 000 [will] experience the festival, either through coming to the island [specifically] or planning the visit around it . . . . [There will] also be the persons who are already on island who are going,” Elcock said while speaking to the media at a reception for 50 Scottish visitors at the Dover Beach Hotel in Christ Church.
“With Top Gear, we expect a full house and we have a couple thousand people already registered. I looked at the demographic, and people are coming from literally all over the world and I think it is . . . a strong endorsement of our strategy [of] pushing event tourism to full the shoulder periods of our industry – April to December,” he said.
According to statistics from the Barbados Statistical Service, tourist arrivals in March fell 5.6 per cent as compared with the same time last year.
“We were blessed with a late Easter, so although we ended the first quarter flat for the year . . . we expect April to June to be relatively strong.”
The BTA chairman also noted that the Digicel Reggae Festival also had significant pull during the second quarter, with “well over” 1 000 people arriving in Barbados to attend.
Moving into summer, the BTA chairman was also anticipating a boost in arrivals for Gospelfest, followed by the soca junkies coming for Crop Over.
“We [also] have three major events for the last quarter, [from] September to December, so things are happening, I feel cautiously optimistic that we should be able to bring ourselves out of the slump.”
Concerning a new airline to be announced soon, he said: “With the new airline, [we will have] two new markets and two new flights per week [with] a major legacy carrier.”