Local hotels are reporting mixed bookings this summer, amid the climax of the annual Crop Over festival.
A check with the popular all-inclusive Sandals Barbados Resort showed that the property was enjoying solid bookings for the season. The company’s Public Relations Manager David Hinds attributed the high occupancy levels to the strength of both the hotel and the country’s brands.
“We have run strong 80s and in some cases 90s throughout the summer from about April down to August. So it has been solid across the board. We have not dipped anywhere under 70 per cent [occupancy]
for the period,” Hinds told Barbados TODAY.
“We think that is tremendous and we just want to say it is not only because it is the Sandals brand. I think Barbados as a whole, the work done by the various tourism boards and promoting the island has been a tremendous help for us as well,” he added.
Hinds said he was optimistic the positive trend would continue into the winter period.
“We are optimistic. We know the winter is going to be tremendous so we are just really happy that summer was kind to us during what we would normally traditionally call slow months. So we were very blessed in that sense,” he added.
However, General Manager of Infinity on the Beach and Pirates Inn Renee Coppin told Barbados TODAY both properties were experiencing a less than favourable summer.
Coppin, who said she preferred not to say what the exact occupancy levels were at both properties, said there was no denying that there were challenges.
“If I had to compare bookings this year with those of last year, we have not had a strong summer. Of course for Crop Over both properties are very full, but beyond Crop Over and prior to Crop Over it’s been a weak summer,” Coppin said.
However, winter bookings to date are on par with last year’s.
“So we are not, at this point, overly concerned with winter, but summer is not looking as strong as we would like it to be and certainly not as strong as last year for us,” she stressed.
The hotelier said she was currently working closely with industry partners “looking at early booking offers” for next summer.
“We have been in constant communication with our operators and just trying to ensure we are looking at 2018 to try and ensure there is no repeat of this. So right now it is just looking at early booking offers and trying to get business on the books as early as possible,” she said.
The Crop Over festivities, which began in May, will climax with Grand Kadooment on Monday, August 7. It is not known exactly how many tourists come to the country specifically for the festival.
However, during the first half of last year the island welcomed 320,953 long-stay visitors, 17,094 more than the first half of 2015.
Last year, Barbados welcomed a record 600,000 visitors, compared to 591,892 long-stay visitors in 2015.