Tourism pickup expected, says Elcock
Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), Adrian Elcock, has described the performance of the industry so far this year as “flat”.
However, Elcock is looking forward to the coming winter season, when the island is expected to welcome additional airlift out of a number of major international gateways.
In this regard, he said tourism officials were now working with Air France on a programme to build the island’s French business.
Additionally, “Germany now, this winter, will have three flights and . . . we have got Air Canada to switch from Air Canada Rouge, which is their new low-cost carrier throughout the Caribbean. Barbados is one of the few destinations that have been able to get back the mainline Air Canada flight, but we have also got it with a bigger size aircraft – the 777 – and that will work well for our international business sector as well as our visitors,” he said.
In the United States market, Delta will also be launching two flights a week out of Atlanta and two flights out of New York’s JFK on December 4, while JetBlue is scheduled to add a red-eye flight from January next year.
“. . . So we will have more flights coming out of the USA, particularly the north-east, than we have had in a long time,” said Elcock, who is “excited” about the BTA’s “new structure” and “very aggressive posture in the marketplace, supported by the airlift”.
He, however, acknowledged that the island’s tourism performance for the year so far had been statistically “flat”, based on the arrival numbers available up to the end of July, which show overall tourism down 0.1 per cent from last year.
Elcock is, nevertheless, upbeat about a pickup in performance with a number of big meetings planned for the rest of the year, starting with a major hemispheric conference of the Organization of American States in September that is expected to welcome over 1,200 delegates.
“We have the Connect Barbados [Conference] where we are bringing in a number of our tour operators from around the world. Right after that, we have the London Times Awards, we have Soccerex. We expect close to 1,200 people with that, which is a global football conference; we have the Food, Wine And Rum [Festival], and we have a new [musical] festival at the cusp of the holiday season in mid-December,” the BTA chairman said.