Bid to Boost Barbados Tourism
Weeks after the Central Bank of Barbados reported a weak 2013 first quarter performance by the country’s tourism industry, the authorities have come up with a plan to put the sector back on a growth path.
The Minister of Tourism of Barbados, Richard Sealy has announced a package which among things will be focusing on advertising and promoting the tourism industry in all the market segments.
Minister Sealy said $11 million is to be spent on a program called Barbados Island Inclusive Package, with all but $4 million of that money going towards advertising.
This initiative was put together by the Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, the private sector voice of the industry.
It will also be providing incentives in the form of cash awards to visitors. UK and European visitors spending up to seven days vacation will receive vouchers of $600. Other vouchers will be given to those vacationing for up five days.
The Caribbean market has not been left out as regional visitors will be getting vouchers worth $300.
The Minister told the media that he anticipates an additional 15,000 visitors coming to the island as a consequence of the program, which will be initiated in stages.
The Government is expecting additional revenue of $30 million. It will commence at the end of this month in time for the start of the summer season which starts in June.
Minister Sealy reasoned that the program will give more drive to the industry. Visitor arrivals into Barbados between January and March 2013 fell eight per cent while spending was also down. Arrivals from all the markets declined in that three month period.
The BHTA’s President Patricia Alfonso-Dass welcomed the program saying that all stakeholders in the industry will benefit.
The Central Bank of Barbados report indicated that there were reductions in arrivals from the USA, UK and other Caribbean markets.
The closure of Almond Resorts represented an estimated loss, on average, of about one fifth of visitors preferring all inclusive vacation. This coupled with the UK’s Air Passenger Duty, which increased by over eight percent, also resulted in a decrease in flights out of the UK.
In addition, the cessation of flights by low cost carrier RedJet contributed to the reduction in regional visitors.
Central Bank Governor Dr. Delisle Worrell stated at a recent news conference that the drop in visitor arrivals contributed to the 0.4 per cent decline in gross domestic product at the end of March.
Written by: Brett Callaghan
April 26th, 2013