Barbados Tourism on the Rise

Barbados Tourism on the Rise

Tourism, the main engine of the Barbados economy, is continuing its upward trend, according to preliminary 2008 figures from the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).

BHTA figures show the island continues to be a big favourite vacation spot especially for the rich, with the top tier hotels still registering the best occupancy levels.

Assessing growth for the 2007-2008 winter season, which started in December 2007, BHTA president Alvin Jemmott said the association had so far sampled 70 per cent of its membership for the last quarter and February has been the island’s best month overall.

“The overall occupancy performance for this period (December 2007 -February 2008) compared to the same period last year is consistent,” Jemmott said.

“Average occupancies for the winter seem to be progressing at expected rates……(and) are projected to do better than last year.”

In January 2008, he said, the overall average occupancy was 74 per cent compared to 71 per cent a year earlier.

By sector, occupancy in the luxury class hotels was up eight per cent on the 70 per cent of the previous year, the “A” class properties were up to 74 per cent from 73 per cent and the “B” class up to 70 per cent from 65 per cent.

February showed an overall average rate of 81 per cent compared with 80 per cent the year before.

The luxury sector again performed best, reporting an 87 per cent occupancy compared with a previous 82 percent. The “A” class hotels were down two per cent to 78 per cent from 80 per cent in the previous year and the “B” class establishments remained at 78 per cent occupancy.

Jemmott projected that, based on bookings and performance to date, March 2008 should average three per cent growth over last year.

Barbados annually welcomes more than a million visitors. The number of tourists – long stay visitors – who came in 2007 amounted to 574, 533, compared with 616,354 cruise passengers who stopped in for a day or less.

The increase over the 2006 performance was 14.3% for the cruise sector and 2.1% for the long stays.

Provisional Barbados Central Bank figures indicate that in 2007, tourism earned the island about $172 million out of GDP that was estimated at $1.15 billion.

At the end of November 2007, visitor arrivals from the traditional markets of the UK, Canada and the US had expanded by 6.3%, 7.7% and 2.7%, respectively.

Additional Information:

March 25th, 2008