Tourism officials pleased about increased numbers
Tourism officials say the outlook for this island’s vital tourism sector is bright, with air and sea arrivals up substantially so far this winter.
Executive Vice President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Sue Springer reported on the state of the industry at this morning’s fourth quarterly general meeting of the BHTA at Hilton Barbados .
She said long stay arrivals for November showed an increase of 6.3 per cent, with significant growth of 8.8 per cent reported in the United Kingdom and 14 per cent in Germany.
“The long stay arrivals year-to-date to the end of November showed a minimal increase of 0.1 per cent over 2013, which is considered as flat,” she added.
However, for the first week of December, the news was much better.
Springer disclosed that there was a whopping 71 per cent increase in long stay arrivals out of Canada, compared to a 15.3 per cent hike in the United States and a 35.4 increase in the UK.
Overall, arrivals so far this year were higher than in 2012 by as many as 8,979 visitors.
Forward-bookings are also looking positive. However, Springer said officials would have a clearer picture for 2015 after they meet with industry partners at the December 26 to January 30 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Marketplace.
The BHTA executive also noted that projected cruise passenger arrivals for 2014 were 690,000, an increase of four per cent over last year.
She pointed out that next year, three ships – two with a carrying capacity of 4,000 passengers each – were scheduled to visit the island. They are the Britannia and the Mein Schiff 3 and Fred Olsen out of Germany.
The vessels will homeport here, increasing the island’s homeporting numbers significantly.
Springer also noted that Quantum of the Sea, the third largest cruise ship in the world, sailed into Barbados on Sunday with a capacity of 5,000 passengers and 1,500 crew.
On the matter of vital airlift, the BHTA official recalled that the first Air Canada 777-300 series arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport on December 1 and is scheduled to ply the Toronto-Bridgetown route until April 2015.
However, Springer said it may stay here even longer, if Barbados can manage to keep loads high.
The BHTA spokeswoman is forecasting a 52 per cent rise in airlift with Air Canada.
She also noted that JetBlue had placed its newest aircraft with 190 seats on the Barbados route.
Springer said the island was benefiting this winter from Condor’s three flights per week, as well as 12 per week by British Airways.
She is also excited about the prospects for next year with new tourism projects scheduled to come on stream.
“The eagerly-awaited opening in January of Sandals. A new luxury villa project will commence in the new year at Settlers; the breaking ground of the Hyatt Hotel in March and the opening of Port Ferdinand,” she said.