Barbados’ tourism sector broke a 25-year record during the first quarter of 2015. There were record arrivals in each of the first three months of 2015. “This was a very strong winter season. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has predicted a five per cent increase in long stay arrivals for the region for the entire year and we believe our performance in this first quarter bodes well for us to comfortably exceed that target” said Alvin Jemmott, chairman of the Barbados Tourism Management Inc. (BTMI).
During a review of the tourism performance for January to March 2015 at Hilton Barbados, Jemmott said that with 171 471 long-stay arrivals for the period, this was the highest for about a quarter-century.
William Griffith, CEO of BTMI broke down the performance by market, which showed that arrivals from the UK, USA, Canada, and Caribbean and Latin American grew by 12.9 per cent, 27.7 per cent, 28.4 per cent and 10.6 per cent, respectively. Germany also grew by 23.6 per cent. These strong performances, including a 17.7 per cent rise in arrivals from ‘Other CARICOM’, overshadowed the 2.4 per cent decline in the Trinidad and Tobago market and the dip in arrivals from ‘Other Europe’ by 27.3 percent.
While the cruise sector declined by 6.1 per cent to 217,139 passengers, there was a welcomed increase in home porting, which sees ships purchases goods and services from local dairy, retail and other suppliers. There is also a trend being observed with smaller ships being replaced by larger vessels, some with the capacity to carry of over 4,000 passengers.
Griffith added that the island’s total airlift capacity for the May 1 – October 31, 2015 summer period was set to rise by 3.6 per cent, largely driven by additional flights and the use of larger aircraft by the island’s airline partners.