By the Caribbean Journal staff
Tourism arrivals to Barbados rose by 2.7 percent last year, a solid performance and another year of positive growth, according to new data from Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
But the biggest story last year was a continued surge in tourism from the all-important United States market.
The United States was the area of strongest improvement for Barbados, with an 8.4 percent increase in visitors and a total of 204,830 arrivals, a full-fledged surge in visits that far eclipsed growth from the Canadian and United Kingdom markets.
It’s part of what has been a concerted push over the last several years to attract more American visitors, work that is now paying off.
The island’s Grantley Adams International Airport reported a total of 681,197 visitors in 2018, representing an increase of 17,686 visitors.
“I am delighted by this news and what it says about Barbados’ tourism product,” said William “Billy” Griffith, CEO of BTMI. “It is never easy as a mature tourism destination to maintain growth at these levels in the competitive business landscape in which we operate, but I am pleased that through strategic marketing efforts we have once again proven Barbados’ value as shown by the record number of arrivals at both the air and sea ports throughout 2018.”
“I must commend our tourism teams both here and in our global offices, whose efforts were instrumental in us achieving this record 2.7 percent growth,” Griffith said. “They did a great job individually, and that’s reflected when we look at our overall reporting.”
The numbers are likely to increase further in 2019, thanks in part to American Airlines’ recent expansion in service to the island from both Miami and Charlotte.