What will the summer look like?

What is our summer going to be like? With the end of the winter season fast approaching, everyone has started to formulate opinions of how our summer will shape.

Let us look at the factors, which will impact our performance here on the island. Traditionally, the UK market has been better for us during the summer than most other source markets. In recent years, this source market has been under immense economic pressure and I have noticed a shift in the way that visitors from that market book their holidays.

There was a time when forward bookings would have been reported by now, and deposits paid for early booking discounts. In recent years, visitors from the UK market have started booking much later and for a shorter period of time.

The US market is where we have seen the most growth since the start of the current recession. There seems to be no end of the economic turmoil in this market either. The current issue, which the US is faced with, is the issue of budget sequestration, which as I understand, refers to procedures in which automatic spending cuts are triggered.

Already I am seeing all kind of measures being taken which in my opinion are creating panic in that market. Based on what I have seen in the past, when there is panic in a market, travel tends to be placed on the back burner. If this happens, it could spell a reduction in business this summer.

The Canadian market has for the most part been a winter market as it relates to growth from there. Summer out of the Canadian market therefore presents less of a growth opportunity for us than some of our other markets.

In the Caribbean, I have already heard at least one Prime Minister complaining of how ridiculous it is to travel between our neighbouring countries. If as Prime Minister he is feeling the frustration, you could only imagine how the every-day consumer must be affected.

The Caribbean, especially Trinidad, over the last decade has been a very strong summer market for us here in Barbados. For many years, everyone in the Caribbean complained about the frustrations of intra-regional travel but still very little has changed.

With all I have said about the mentioned markets, it is not difficult to conclude that we are likely to have a very challenging summer. This scenario makes it even more important for our summer package to be compelling and aggressive. Already we are seeing some of our competitors offering packages like, Bahamas – $300 Instant Savings on stays of six nights or longer, or $200 Instant Savings on stays of three, four or five nights for Nassau; St. Croix – Fantastic Flight Promotion a $300 instant credit, the sixth night free, and a $20 match play casino certificate.

Cancun – Kids Free Summer 2013 Promotion: Children ages 12 and under sharing a room with one full paying adult stays, plays and eats free; limited to two children per room.

Bermuda 2013 – every fourth night free. This is no time to play with words, we need to put together our very best offer and seek the very best results.

* Tourism is our business, let’s play our part.

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