Barbados’ tourism officials are launching a fresh effort to boost traffic from the island’s main source markets amid new information showing another decline in arrivals.
The Barbados Statistical Service today released its latest bulletin, which revealed a decline of more than 20,000 long stay visitors between January and the end of last month, a seven per cent decrease when compared with that seven-month period last year.
Now, after Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy reported recently that the $11 million Barbados Island Inclusive voucher programme had attracted 5,000 of a targeted 15,000 visitors to the island, the initiative has been relaunched.
It means travelers from overseas now have between yesterday and September 21 to benefit from hundreds of dollars in “free” vacation money.
With the Barbados economy now back in recession, and with new measures to reduce the fiscal deficit expected in Tuesday’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, officials seeing the latest BSS information showing another tourism decline would be disappointed, though not surprised.
One bit of good news was that cruise passenger arrivals were up by almost 10 per cent.
“Stay-over visitor arrivals for the period January to July 2013 were 311,356. This represented a decline of 23,306 or seven per cent. There were increases in the Germany and Other Europe markets of 1,096 or 22.6 per cent and 1,508 or 8.8 per cent respectively,” the government agency said.
“All of the other markets recorded declines ranging from 2.2 per cent to 19.4 per cent when compared to 2012. Cruise passenger arrivals were 360,217 which represented an increase of 31,188 or 9.5 per cent when compared to the corresponding period for 2012.”
The January to July figures were marginally higher than the January to June statistics, when 19,116 less tourists vacationed here, the equivalent of a 6.7 per cent drop over the first six months of 2012.
In the case of the Barbados Island Inclusive programme, the Barbados Tourism Authority said it was “back by popular demand” and was valid for travel up to the first week of the winter tourist season, which begins in mid December.
The programme allows guests to receive “free spending money” based on their length of stay for use at participating attractions and restaurants while here.
With a minimum stay of five nights guests will receive $300 per individual and on stays of seven nights or longer guests will receive $400 per person based on a maximum of two people per room.
When they check in at their hotel, guests will receive the vouchers in $50 units and will be provided a list of all participating service providers.
Speaking recently as he announced a new 10-point plan to help resuscitate the industry, Sealy said about 5,000 tourists had taken advantage of the vouchers being offered in the programme’s first phase.
The initial offer was launched in the island’s main tourism markets including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Europe, Brazil and the Caribbean. (SC)