2015 ‘turnaround year’ for Barbados tourism industry

Published on : Friday, February 5, 2016

Barbados tourism industry2015 was a “turnaround year” for the Barbados tourism industry, Minister of tourism and international transport, Richard Sealy, noted adding that ‘many of the vital signs showed steady improvement.’

 
Long stay arrivals grew by 13.7 percent to reach 591,892, the highest on record. The UK remained Barbados’ no. 1 source market, contributing 37 percent of business with a year on year increase of 14.1 percent.

 
The US market, which represented 25 percent of international visitor arrivals, grew by 25 percent. The Caribbean and Latin America and Canadian markets, which equated to 15.9 percent and 12.6 percent of total long stay arrivals, grew by 13.1 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

 
The island also copped best destination awards from Expedia, Caribbean Journal and the Telegraph. In addition, Barbados shone in the region as the first international destination to receive JetBlue’s new Mint Service, which has since been extended to a once weekly year-round service.

 
According to the Central Bank of Barbados, tourism’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) was $133 million in 2015, an increase of six percent and one of the largest increases registered in recent times.

 
Barbados’ growth strategy focused heavily on the diversification of its source markets, including establishing new gateways out of Boston via JetBlue; Bogota, Columbia through Avianca; and a new Thomas Cook service out of Glasgow. The island’s tourism industry also benefitted in 2015 from the introduction of a twice weekly Delta service out of Atlanta and New York, and the switch by Air Canada to a B777 aircraft.

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