By Alexander Britell
Barbados continues to be one of the hottest tourism destinations in the Caribbean.
The island has seen a 5.2 percent year-over-year jump in stayover visitor arrivals in the first seven months of 2019, according to new data from Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, the country’s destination marketing organization.
That included a total of 434,961 visitors passing through Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport, or a total jump of 21,345 additional visitors in the period, and cementing Barbados’ status as one of the fastest-growing destinations in the region.
In July alone, Barbados saw an 8 percent increase in visitors compared to the same month in 2018, thanks to what seems to have been a booming Crop Over festival.
“This news augurs well for the future development of Barbados’ tourism industry,” said William Griffith, chief executive officer of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. “To continuously record year-on-year growth as a mature destination means that we are moving in the right direction. We must continue to look for new opportunities to reinvent ourselves and remain relevant in this competitive market, while building the resilience of the sector.”
The growth came in part thanks to a concerted push by tourism officials on the island to grow airlift, Griffith said.
“One of the pivotal elements of guaranteeing the viability of our tourism industry is ensuring that the island remains easily accessible by land and sea,” he said. “The BTMI has worked closely with our airline partners to maintain, and even boost airlift and this has contributed in part to our favorable increases in arrivals.”
That includes newly-launched service from Jamaica to Barbados, along with an expansion by JetBlue of its weekly Saturday service to year-round service from Newark to Barbados.
On Oct. 28, German carrier Lufthansa will launch thrice-weekly nonstop flights from Frankfurt, a major boost for the European source market to Barbados.
The destination has also seen a boost in new entertainment and other attractions, fro the new Festive Fridays experience in Bridgetown to the launch fo the new St Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway.
Barbados also recently welcomed the debut of the new The Abidah by Accra all-inclusive resort, a 44-room luxury adults-only property that opened its doors in June.
And the fall will see two significant events: the 10th Barbados Food and Rum Festival from Oct. 24-27, and the November hosting of the Barbados Mindful Living Festival Nov. 22-24.
“We are pressing full steam ahead with our deployments and activations in the market as we seek to drive more business to Barbados,” Griffith said. “Destination Barbados will be wrapping up 2019 with a burst of energy.”