Last updated: 10:22 AM ET, Sat August 01 2015

Barbados Reports 29-Year Tourist Arrivals High

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | July 31, 2015

Barbados Reports 29-Year Tourist Arrivals High

PHOTO: Barbados is reporting a 29-year high in visitor arrivals. Pictured is the Barbados Museum and Historical Society. (Photo by Brian Major).

Barbados is reporting a 29-year high in first-half tourist arrival numbers. The southern Caribbean nation hosted 303,592 overnight visitors between January and June, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) reported Friday. The total represents a 14 percent increase over the 265,647 visitors recorded during the same period in 2014, and the first time the destination has exceeded 300,000 visitors in the January-to-June period in 29 years, BTMI officials said.

Spending from Barbados visitors increased by five percent despite a reduction in the average length of stay, said Alvin Jemmott, BTMI’s chairman. Barbados’ cruise tourism also showed first-half growth, as the country hosted 52 cruise ship calls and 115,231 passengers between April and June of this year. The total represents a six percent rise in cruise ship calls and a 12 percent cruise passenger arrivals increase compared with the same period in 2014.

Jemmott said Barbados’ accommodation sector is projected to receive 2,300 new and refurbished hotel rooms between 2015 and 2019, a collective investment of $2 billion.

"This exceptional performance…comes against the backdrop of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) 5 percent growth projection for our region for 2015,” Jemmott said. “It also surpasses the global forecast [from] the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for international tourist arrivals to increase by 3-4 percent.”

Jemmott said current “strategic projects” include the impending launch of a new destination website. He said that BTMI, which this year replaced the former Barbados Tourism Authority, “has tightened expenditure controls across the board” and is “challenging the BTMI global team to become more creative and more targeted in its marketing initiatives.”

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