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Tourism still looking up

CARLOS ATWELL, [email protected]

Tourism still looking up

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Despite a dim economic forecast, tourism figures remain shining bright.

Chairman of the Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc., Alvin Jemmott, reported the island was still experiencing record arrivals.

“Barbados enjoyed a record five per cent increase in stay-over arrivals over last year, an all-time high for the destination. Over the course of 2017 Grantley Adams International Airport welcomed more than 633 000 visitors, 31 000 more than the previous year. The Bridgetown Port also recorded tremendous growth, recording 818 cruise arrivals, an increase from the 725 of the previous year.

“So far this year, the island has received some 132 long stay visitors whereas we welcomed another 200 000 cruise ship visitors to the island; so Barbados continues to do very well,” he said.

Jemmott was speaking on Wednesday at the cocktail reception and official opening of the 13th annual Connect Barbados, held in the refurbished Nidhe Israel Synagogue in The City.

He said 70 tour operators had already registered for the programme this year, adding he was particularly pleased about the European contingent.

“We have 13 companies coming out of that region which is a first for our European source market. This comes against the continued effort to increase our business out of Europe and giving that particular focus,” he said.

In continuing the good news, Jemmott spoke about the new direct flights from Miami to Barbados; the upcoming flights to Panama and of the islands’ high ranking – 8.8 of 10 – in the ITB Travel Trade Show’s Destination Satisfaction Index, the highest ranking for visitor satisfaction in the world.

The tourism chief also spoke about the upcoming Food and Rum Festival. He said it would occur from October 18-21 and a budget of $1.3 million had been allocated to make Barbados the food capital of the Caribbean.

The prestigious event also featured remarks from Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association chairman Roseanne Myers, who encouraged the guests to mingle, meet new people and make new connections, as well as Sir Paul Altman, a veteran real estate agent who was responsible for the refurbished synagogue. (CA)