As tourism officials embark on promotions to lure more visitors to the island, stakeholders are repositioning the island’s 6,000 hotel rooms and 3,000 villas to meet any possible influx.
In an update on the tourism product offering for the 2014-2015 tourist season, executive vice president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Sue Springer told a tour operators’ conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning that no fewer than 500 additional rooms were either coming on stream and being refurbished or redesigned between now and early next year.
Springer noted that Infinity, formerly Escape at the Gap, opened this year with 66 new rooms, Almond Beach Resort added 20 more for this winter and a new property was acquired next to Worthing Court Hotel with 14 additional rooms.
She added that Phase One of the upscale Port Ferdinand in St Peter has been completed, providing 13 new three-bedroom homes and one two-bedroom home that will be available for rental from November.
The BHTA official also told the tour operators that Sandals would reopen in January next year, bringing 282 new rooms and seven restaurants. Savannah Hotel situated in Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison World Heritage site, will be renovating 12 rooms, each with a different look.
According to the hotel executive, Settlers Beach will be redesigned and rebuilt with 12 exquisite residences; Sandpiper – its sister hotel next door – will be rebuilt next year, offering three ultra-luxury suites; 75 rooms were refurbished at Coconut Court Hotel; and upgrades were also carried out on 38 rooms at Bougainvillea Beach Resort and 45 at Colony Club.
“Despite . . . the economic challenges that they’ve been enduring for the last five years, a lot of the hotels are trying as best they can to do some sort of reinvestment – either at least refurbishing or upgrading some of their rooms,” Springer said.
“We are hoping that over the next two to three years, we would see all of the closed [hotels] that we have now, actually rebirthing and bringing more rooms. It’s important because it’s not only about having good rooms and experience . . . but also when we are fighting to retain airlift, it is important we have the right room inventory here because if the airline seats cannot be filled, it is very easy to lose airlift and very, very difficult to get it here.
“So . . . we need to make sure that when the people get here that they have somewhere to stay, places to go and enjoy and take that experience back,” Springer asserted.