Visitors staying away from hotels, warns BHTA official

Barbados recorded an 8.1 per cent increase in long-stay visitor arrivals during the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2016.

However, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Rudy Grant pointed out today that this was not reflected in the occupancy levels of BHTA member properties, which reported a mere 1.5 per cent increase in occupancy for the January to June period.

With every indication that visitors to the island were now opting to stay elsewhere, Grant called on BHTA members to step up their game.

“If, of course, the overall arrivals are increasing by 8.1 per cent and our member properties are reporting they are seeing an increase of 1.5 per cent, all of the increase in visitors of course is not going to our member properties.

“We therefore have to be very aware and conscious of the new realities and we have to ensure that we are able to design those benefits and provide added value for our visitors so that we are able to encourage more persons coming to Barbados to visit our member properties,” he told the BHTA’s third quarterly general meeting at the Barbados Hilton Resort.

The BHTA executive did not indicate where the visitors who avoided hotels were staying. However, hoteliers have complained in the past that homestay programmes such as Airbnb have been eating into their bottomline.

During the period under review, Barbados welcomed a total of 346,849 long-stay visitors, compared to the 320,953 for the same period last year.

Cruise passenger arrivals increased by 76,130 or 21.1 per cent during the first half of this year, compared to the corresponding period last year.

There was a 23.5 per cent increase in cruise calls, which reached 310 between January and June, compared to the 251 calls recorded during the same period last year.

The biggest jump in visitor arrivals was out of the United States market, which increased by 17.9 per cent to reach just over 98,500 visitors. This was followed by the Canadian market, which registered a 12.7 per cent increase.

However, while the United Kingdom (UK) remains the country’s number one source market with 116, 007 British tourists coming here between January and June, its performance was flat — a hike of just 0.9 per cent in arrivals.

The number of visitors arriving from other European countries grew by 11.7 per cent; neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago 6.4 per cent; other Caribbean markets 4.1 per cent, and Central and South America 9.1 per cent.

However, there was a dramatic decline in arrivals out of Brazil, which fell 47.9 per cent to 790 visitors, compared to the 1,516 between January and June last year.

There was also a 6.2 per cent decline in arrivals out of Germany. Grant did not report on visitor spend.

But in terms of airlift, he said flights for the upcoming winter season were looking favourable with the island set to receive “a slight increase of 7,000 seats” over the five-month period.

During the period under review, Delta and Avianca airlines discontinued their services to the island.

Presenting the administrative review, Grant also pointed to the need for the BHTA to continue to work closely with stakeholders to develop appropriate marketing strategies in order to ensure the UK market remained the island’s number one source market.

This, he said, was critical in light of a signal out of Jamaica that it would be seeking to tap into the 800,000 strong UK diaspora market and to ensure that the UK becomes its number one source market.

“Of course we want to ensure that we take necessary actions so that we continue to be the number one destination for UK visitors and to ensure that as we would say, no one is able to eat our lunch,” Grant said.

9 Responses to Visitors staying away from hotels, warns BHTA official

  1. Gordon L September 14, 2017 at 4:16 am

    I have been a visitor to the Island for over 25 years and will arrive again in a few weeks time. I think the problem that affects hotel occupancy is the price. Now that will come as no surprise. However as the costs increase the value for money gets worse. In some hotels where I have stayed, both on the west coast and the south coast, the costs have increased but the service has remained the same. The standards have remained the same. The food does not get any better. Yet guests are expected to pay more. When I first came in the nineties there were not so many places to go out and eat but now the choice is almost limitless and to suit all budgets so I think people are choosing to rent privately knowing they can eat where and when they want.

  2. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba September 14, 2017 at 8:29 am


  3. Kaiser Sose
    Kaiser Sose September 14, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Its the same boring menu and activities be more creative hellnits good they get out and mingle with the people you all can’t get all the money.

  4. Kathy September 14, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    The whole world is changing and if we want to remain relevant in terms of our tourism offerings we have to adapt to the trends. This is why Airbnb and Uber is so successful. we have to rethink our tourism product, cut prices and offer more attractive packages.

  5. Alex Alleyne September 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Staying away from HOTELS , or staying away from BARBADOS. Murder rate up and all over the news world wide, so what do you expect. Barbados image done mash up.
    Thanks to the PM , AG, and CHRIS.
    It’s time to give the RBPF a pay hike ASAP. If not for them , Barbados will be like the “wild, wild west”.

  6. Saga Boy September 14, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Alex stop being an alarmist. The murder rate is not up. What is the source of your information re the image of Barbados “done mash up?” Most of the visitors yo this island know about terrorism. They come from countries and districts where the murder rate is much higher. Visitor arrivals are up so how can you say people staying away from BIM. Man talk some sense.

  7. Stephen September 14, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    @Saga Boy.
    I think that you need to check your information.
    The last time i checked the murder rate for this year has already surpassed that for 2016.

  8. Gregg Ifill September 15, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    A timeshare room that sleeps four, suddenly, for regular non -timeshare use, can only sleep two or is an all inclusive only. This becomes quite expensive for families with young children. What are two parents with three kids under age 7 suppose to do? Rent three rooms?

  9. Kate September 16, 2017 at 3:04 am

    All the hotels are switching to all inclusive which is 1) not required on Barbados there are plenty of food outlets and really good supermarkets on the island. 2) all inclusive actually stops money entering the local economy, the revenue remains in the country where the package was bought. The visitors are not encourage to to go outside of the hotel and spend Money. The government need t orestrict the levels of occupancy that are offered on a all inclusive basis. If they don’t the island will suffer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *