Local tourism officials might want to make 2012 a distant memory.
Information released by the Barbados Statistical Service today showed that the island lost more than 31,000 long-stay visitors, nearly 3,000 of them in December.
Based on this latest information there was 5.5 per cent tourism arrival decline in Barbados last year, marginally lower than the 6.2 per cent decrease reported by the Central Bank last month.
But information seen by Barbados TODAY revealed the loss for cruise tourism was even bigger, with more than 92,000 passengers journeying to Barbados in 2012.
“Stay-over visitor arrivals for the period January to December 2012 were 536,303. This represented a decrease of 31,421 or 5.5 per cent,” the tourism statistical bulletin stated.
“There were increases in the Canada, Germany, Other Europe and Trinidad and Tobago Markets of 67 (0.1 per cent), 781 (9.3 per cent) 479 (1.7 per cent), and 1,180 (3.2 per cent) respectively.
“Cruise passenger arrivals were 517,436 which represented a decrease of 92,408 or 15.2 per cent when compared to the corresponding period in 2011,” it added.
The figures for December 2012 also did not make happy reading.
“Stay-over visitor arrivals for December 2012 numbered 52,174 representing a decrease of 2,767 or five per cent when compared to December 2011,” the BSS document stated.
“There were increases in the Canada, U.K, Germany and other Europe markets of 19 or 0.2 per cent, 273 or 1.6 per cent, 508 or 48.6 per cent and 135 or 3.2 per cent while the other markets experienced decreases.
“Cruise passenger arrivals for December 2012 were 74,990 which represented a decrease of 8,514 or 10.2 per cent when compared to December 2011.”
In his review of the economy for 2012, Central Bank Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell linked the island’s 0.0 per cent (growth) to the contraction in the tourism industry.
“There were reductions of 8.8 per cent and nine per cent in US and UK visitors, respectively. The closure of the Almond Resorts represented an estimated loss, on average, of about one-fifth of visitors preferring an all-inclusive vacation,” he reported. “This coupled with the UK’s Air Passenger Duty, which increased by over eight per cent and the decrease in the number of flights out of US and UK by two major carriers, were the main contributing factors to this outturn. “In addition, the cessation of flights by REDjet earlier in the year contributed to the reduction in regional visitors. Persons travelling from Trinidad and Tobago rose by almost 50 per cent between January and April, but subsequently slowed to 1.5 per cent for the year as a whole, while visitors from other regional economies contracted by 8.1 per cent.” Worrell also pointed to a 15 per cent decrease in cruise passenger arrivals between January and December last year, attributing it mainly to “the shift of some cruise ships to other destinations and a renewed focus on the Mediterranean region by some of the major cruise companies”. (SC)