Tourist arrivals up for 2019
Tourist arrivals in Barbados are up by just over 5 per cent for the first seven months of the year and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is pressing ahead with initiatives to achieve a record-breaking performance.
Chief Executive Officer William Griffith said based on the destination management organisation’s review, the island has enjoyed a 5.2 per cent increase in stay-over arrivals, or 21 345, compared to the corresponding period in 2018.
In a release, the BTMI said between January and July 2019, Barbados welcomed 434 961 visitors through the enhanced Grantley Adams International Airport. In July, there was 8 per cent growth over July 2018, while the annual Crop Over Festival (below) was in full swing.
As the island continues its recovery from the regional fall-out from the 2017 hurricane season, the BTMI is aggressively pursuing new cruise marketing and product development initiatives, which have resulted in the months of February, March, April and July recording increased cruise arrivals, the release said. It is anticipated that these initiatives will contribute to longer term growth.
“This news augurs well for the future development of Barbados’ tourism industry. To continuously record year-on-year growth as a mature destination means that we are moving in the right direction. We must continue to look for new opportunities to reinvent ourselves and remain relevant in this competitive market, while building the resilience of the sector,” Griffith said.
The highest growth for the first half of 17.6 per cent was recorded in the Central and South America market, followed by the United States at 10.9 per cent. Germany and the United Kingdom also performed favourably with increases of 8.5 and 7.9 per cent, respectively.
Griffith applauded the tourism team in Barbados and across all markets and attributed the island’s improved performance to their development of strategic initiatives.
“Several of these efforts are bearing fruit and we must press forward in this light to conclude the rest of the year with a solid performance,” he said.
“One of the pivotal elements of guaranteeing the viability of our tourism industry is ensuring that the island remains easily accessible by land and sea. The BTMI has worked closely with our airline partners to maintain, and even boost airlift and this has contributed in part to our favourable increases in arrivals.”
Barbados’ deepening partnership with Caribbean Airlines saw the regional airline open more gateways with the launch of the non-stop service between Kingston Jamaica, and Barbados in April 2019. With twice-weekly flights being provided, this service adds an additional 300 seats for business and leisure travellers and has allowed the island to welcome 3 012 passengers between April and July this year.
Around this same time, JetBlue expanded its seasonal weekly service on Saturdays to year-round service between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI).
The addition of Festive Fridays, the opening of the St Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway and more hotel stock have boosted offerings for visitors.
Barbados also won several international tourism awards.
“Being recognised by the global travel industry, and also by consumers as being one of the best destinations, is indeed an honour for Barbados. These awards will continue to drive us to perform better and better every year to not only meet expectations, but to exceed them. We will remain committed to ensuring that we showcase the best that Barbados has to offer across all markets and to all visitors,” Griffith said.
The BTWI is preparing to welcome home Barbadians and visitors for We Gatherin’ 2020, among other initiatives. From October 28, Lufthansa will be offering three weekly flights from Frankfurt, Germany, the 10th Barbados Food and Rum Festival will run from October 24 to 27 and Independence celebrations will take place in November.
The Barbados Mindful Living Festival is scheduled for November 22 to 24 and the 2019 Run Barbados Weekend will be December 6 to 8. (PR/SAT)