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Tourism looking up

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

Tourism looking up

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MINISTER OF TOURISM Kerrie Symmonds is predicting a higher level of visitor spend as a result of a projected 60 per cent increase in home-porting business this cruise season.

He described the figures as “impressive”, with 45 000 cruise passengers expected as opposed to 26 394 last year, and bed nights for people who fly, cruise and stay going up to 5 000 from last year’s 3 000.

Explaining his optimism about the increased numbers, Symmonds said: “I think that the industry locally has started to take notice of the need for us to be a lot more assertive in the marketplace.”

 Speaking to the NATION on board the cruise ship Marella Explorer, which was making its inaugural call at the Bridgetown Port yesterday, he added: “I am satisfied that there was in fact a little bit of complacency creeping into Barbados’ tourism. I have been trying to send the signal [of] every opportunity that we need to refresh what we are doing, reimagine what we are doing, rethink our approaches and try to make ourselves as relevant to the demands and expectations of the visiting community as possible.”

While welcoming the ship’s captain Peter Harris and his 800-member crew and over 1 700 passengers, the minister said Barbados had to look beyond the numbers and focus on visitor spend, with a view to making the translation from numbers coming into the country “into some value for the investment we have been making in the whole tourism product”. (GC) 

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