By Alexander Britell
Barbados continues to see surging tourism growth, according to the latest numbers from the country’s tourism board.
Barbados is reporting 453,645 stayover visitor arrivals through September, a 7.4 percent increase compared to the first nine months of 2017.
The data were announced by William Griffith, CEO of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, who was speaking at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s State of the Industry Conference in Grenada this week.
“We are trying to position Barbados as the most dynamic, exciting, happening destination in the Eastern Caribbean,” Griffith said.
The growth has been buoyed by innovative new marketing campaigns, increased airlift (particularly from carriers like JetBlue) and expansion and renovation projects from hotel companies like Elegant Hotels.
“It’s really the growth of rooms and the growth of air capacity,” Griffith said. “One follows the other, and we see no turnaround in the immediate future in that trend.”
That was driven in large part by strong growth from the United States market, which showed 16 percent growth, while the Canadian market grew by 12 percent.
The destination set a record last year with 631,513 stayover arrivals, an increase of 6.7 percent over 2015, and Griffith said Barbados expected to set a new record in 2017.
Visitors spent $587.7 million in Barbados so far this year, according to Caribbean Tourism Organization estimates.
“That reflects strong positive indications that our visitor spending is trending in the right direction,” Griffith said.