Published on Sunday, May 13, 2018

Barbados looks to extend tourism year-round

Barbados is looking to establish itself as a truly year-round destination to boost overall tourist arrivals.

Billy Griffith, CEO at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, said it wanted to move away from being a seasonal destination.

Outlining its plans at this month's trade event, Connect Barbados, Griffith said various cultural and sporting events in the low season would help encourage visitors.

These include the Barbados Celtic Festival, May 24-27, Dive Fest Barbados, July 4-8, Test Cricket, and the Crop Over Festival, July 1-August 1, which celebrates the end of the sugar cane season.

The efforts will also be aided by this year's focus on the island's culinary experiences, with tourism marketing targeted at showcasing its high-end restaurants, local dishes served in rum shops and beach shacks, and food festivals.

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival returns on October 18-21 and there is also a dine-around programme where guests can have a three-course meal at a top restaurant for US$50.

Virgin Atlantic launched a twice weekly flight from Heathrow and Thomas Cook Airlines launched a weekly flight from Gatwick in the last winter season.  Both services will operate again next winter.

Last year Barbados achieved record visitor numbers with 663,511 visitors, a rise of 5% over 2016.

The UK remains the number one market for Barbados, representing a 33% share, although bookings stayed flat at 222,322 arrivals.

The number of US arrivals grew by 11.7% followed by Canada with 7.9%.

by Jill Sayles

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