With the winter tourist season opening in a month’s time, the nation’s tourism marketing agency has reported a boost in visitor arrivals up to September this year.
Chief Executive Officer of The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. William Griffith said its “strategic initiatives” paid off with a 4.2 per cent increase, or 21,200 more long-stay tourists for the first nine months of this year, year-on-year.
The island also welcomed 522,883 visitors through the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), he said.
In a review issued this morning, Griffith said Central and South America recorded the highest growth for the year up to September.
In all, 522,583 visitors came to Barbados for the first nine months of the year, an increase of 21,200 visitors, according to the BTMI’s destination management review. In 2018, the country welcomed 681,197 tourists.
Pointing to new goals for the upcoming winter season, the tourism marketing chief declared: “The BTMI continues to aggressively pursue new cruise marketing and product development initiatives, which has projected cruise arrivals to reach around 840,000 by the end of December.”
Griffith said he anticipated those “aggressive” marketing efforts would contribute to long-term growth.
Central and South America recorded growth of 11 per cent, followed by the United States at 9.5 per cent.
Arrivals from main source market United Kingdom were up 8.7 per cent and Germany rose 5.7 per cent.
Griffith praised the BTMI team in Barbados and across all markets while attributing the country’s favourable performance to “their development of strategic initiatives”.
He highlighted the forming of partnerships and marketing efforts as the two main initiatives.
Barbados expanded its reach in the European market recently as Eurowings from the Lufthansa Group launched its non-stop service between Frankfurt and Bridgetown last month.
With thrice-weekly flights, this service is to add 990 seats for business and leisure travellers Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until April 2020.
Griffith said: “Several of these efforts are bearing fruit and we must press forward in this light to conclude the rest of the year with a solid performance.
“One of the pivotal elements of guaranteeing the viability of our tourism industry is ensuring that the island remains easily accessible by land and sea.
“The BTMI has worked closely with our airline partners to maintain, and even boost airlift and this has contributed in part to our favourable increases in arrivals.”
Looking ahead, the BTMI chief pointed out that there were several initiatives geared towards cementing a record performance for 2019, and in preparation for 2020.
He said the BTMI was gearing up marketing and communications activities to invite all friends and family of Barbados to the island next year for the Government’s We Gatherin’ initiative.
“We are pressing full steam ahead with our deployments and activations in the market as we seek to drive more business to the island.
“Amidst Barbados’ independence celebrations, the BTMI is looking forward to the Barbados Mindful Living Festival this November 22 to 24 as a nod to 2019 as the Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure,” Griffith said.
He noted that the health and wellness festival would be the perfect segue into the Run Barbados Marathon weekend from December 6 to 8, which has evolved into one of the premier sporting attractions on the island.
He added: “The marathon will feature a fun mile, 5k walk, 10k walk and run as well as the half marathon and marathon. Destination Barbados will be wrapping up 2019 with a burst of energy as we encourage travellers to ‘Come for the run, but stay for the fun!’