No tourism growth
Symmonds: Tourists passing through, not staying
Barbados Labour Party Member of Parliament, Kerrie Symmonds has suggested that the country’s tourism competitiveness has deteriorated so badly that more visitors are passing through the island rather than staying.
Citing tourism figures, Symmonds told a joint meeting of the party’s Christ Church South and West Central branches that despite the unusual winter in the United States and Canada last year, Barbados recorded declines in arrivals while visitors fleeing the cold went to other Caribbean destinations.
“In Barbados, in February we recorded a decline of two per cent, and in March a further decline of 5.6 per cent,” he said last evening in the St Lawrence Primary School.
“What hurt me most is that in the same February, St Vincent –– right next door –– recorded an increase of 2.4 per cent, and in March a further increase of five per cent . . . And you know St Vincent ain’t got no international airport, so people left continental United States and Canada and arrived at the international airport here at Grantley Adams and go on a LIAT flight and went along to St Vincent, and Barbados had no recorded growth.”
The St James Central MP pointed to other territories that recorded growth in visitor arrivals while recalling that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart previously stated that people were not travelling for vacations owing to a worldwide recession.
“In February and March St Lucia recoded growth of 8.2 per cent in February and 2.1 per cent in March; in St Maarten, five per cent in February, 2.5 per cent in March; Grenada 4.2 per cent in February, seven per cent in March; in Turks and Caicos, 33 per cent growth in February, 29 per cent in March.”
Statistics from the Caribbean Tourism Organization indicate that Barbados recorded a growth of 0.2 per cent between January and November in long stay visitors, and a decline of 2.3 per cent for cruise arrivals during the same period.