Minister of Tourism, Kerrie Symmonds (centre), shared a light moment with Acting CEO of BTMI, Robert Chase (left); and lead co-ordinator of Tourism Week 2019, Marsha Alleyne, at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery yesterday morning.
BARBADOS has recorded an increase in tourism arrivals and tourism spend in the first months of the year.
This was revealed yesterday by Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds, during a media briefing held to discuss planned activities for Tourism and Maritime Week 2019, which will take place between September 22 to 28.
Minister Symmonds told the media that between January 1 and July 31, Barbados’ long-stay arrivals were recorded at 433 263 or 20 666 more than were recorded during the same period in 2018.
“During that seven-month period, the growth pattern was led by arrivals from the USA, which registered an 11 per cent increase over the 2018 long-stay performance for the period January 1 to July 31 and arrivals from the UK, which registered an 8 per cent increase over the 2018 performance for the same period.”
Saying however the assessment must take into account the economic activity generated by visitors, he said he was heartened by figures from the Central Bank of Barbados, which indicated that economic activity by long-stay visitors for the period January 1 to July 31, 2019, showed that while long-stay visitor economic activity declined in the period January 1 to July 31 in 2017 and again in 2018; long-stay visitor economic activity has grown by 5.5 per cent during the period under review for 2019.
Minister Symmonds stated that the figures also demonstrate that Barbados’ visitor arrivals continued to climb in spite of the challenges associated with Brexit in the UK and despite the challenges facing the USA as it relates to its trading partners.
He cautioned however that now is not the time for Barbados to rest on its laurels. “I want to suggest that it is rather a time at which we should be underscoring the significant potential tourism has for this country and the significant potential that tourism has for job opportunities and wealth creation in Barbados.”
The Minister, while lamenting that he will not be on the island next week during Tourism Week celebrations, revealed that he will be attending a road show in Scotland and Ireland in order to drum up more business out of the UK. “We have taken a deliberate policy judgement that given those things which are happening in the UK, it is becoming increasingly important to pay closer attention to that major source market,” he said. (JH)