After experiencing a bumper winter season, officials in the bread-and-butter tourism sector are gearing up for “a difficult” summer period, says Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Sunil Chatrani.
Addressing the post-budget session of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning, Chatrani said:“The summer is going to be difficult based on the data I have within our group, [The Elegant Hotels Group], and from speaking to others.
“We do have a very difficult summer ahead of us. Summer is always going to be difficult. The room stock with regards to the demand, the demand is always lower in the summer and that is why we chose to do renovations during that time. So the 25 plus hotels under renovation will not impact our occupancy in terms of demand, but it will be a difficult summer as usual,” he stressed.
Lamenting that the hoteliers were carrying out upgrades despite still not being able to access the promised Government concessions, Chatrani said while there had been some improvements in the sector, the lack of adequate data and the inability to access the concessions were not helping hoteliers to plan effectively.
“While a 14 per cent increase in arrivals is great, the truth is we are not seeing that kind of spend, and we are not seeing that numbers in terms of room nights. I can’t tell you what number it is, but I can tell you that there is an improvement in the sector,” said Chatrani.
This year Barbados recorded one of its best winter tourist seasons and first quarter tourist arrivals in decades.