BHTA, BTA team up to boost tourist arrivals
Attracting visitors during the slower periods and tapping into new markets will be critical to the island’s tourism product, going forward; but officials will also have to pay close attention to growing existing markets.
That is the assertion of executive vice-president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), Sue Springer, and business development manager of the Barbados Tourism Authority’s (BTA) London office, Cedric Lynch.
Springer told journalists yesterday that while it was critical to access new markets, it was equally important that existing markets were not ignored. For that reason, she said the BHTA had partnered with the BTA to introduce a number of initiatives that should increase visitor arrivals during the slow periods.
“We are looking to promote a new VIP card in the UK, which will give [people who use an attraction] 50 per cent off a second attraction. We are also about to launch the road show in England, which is the Barbados Summertastic 2014 . . . . So we will be doing consumer and trade promotions there,” said Springer.
She was responding to questions during the Gimme Five And Fly showcase at the Concorde Experience. The event, which was organized by the BHTA in association with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, saw over 100 travel agents familiarizing themselves with the island’s tourism product in an effort to go back to Britain and better market the island.
“It is always good to expand where you sell your product; but don’t forget the people that have been loyal to you, and make sure you are doing the right thing for those people. The British market, the American market, the Canadian market, we can still do a lot better by getting additional airlift from those markets,” said Springer. “Once we have done that then obviously expand into other markets, but right now let’s concentrate on what we have; concentrate on the additional airlift that the airlines are very kindly giving us and make sure that we service them.”
Although not divulging details, Springer said new airlift was on the cards to come from the South America market.
In a separate interview, Lynch said he was confident the Barbados tourism product would perform well once “we think outside the box and start bringing in other activities”. Making reference to sporting events such as cricket and the recent Top Gear Barbados Festival, Lynch said local officials should keep innovating.
“It is the lower periods like May, June, September and October where we have to come up with more ideas to keep the levels up,”
Lynch suggested that hotels and airlines partner more to offer special packages that would entice people to travel.
“Apart from that, if we don’t come up with a good event we need to break into other markets that we are not doing so well in. If you look at out Scottish market, it is not the biggest at the moment; so we can focus on Scotland at a certain time. So we might need to do a bit of strategic planning,” he said.
Lynch also suggested that some events be held at different times of the year in order to encourage more travelling at those times.
“So you can shift around a few things and think a bit more outside of the box,” he said.