Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Tourism numbers holding steady

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Returns from the winter tourist season are looking similar to last year’s, according to preliminary assessments.

Chief executive officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, Rudy Grant, said yesterday while it was still collecting information from membership, the Travel Research Report showed hotel occupancies were “flat”, but some of the island’s attractions recorded a better performance than the previous season.

He attributed the boost in attractions to the increase in cruise passengers visiting Barbados, while the direct tourism services maintained last year’s level of business.

One of the major players in the cruise sector, chief executive officer of Foster & Ince, Martin Ince, told the MIDWEEK NATION there was also a good performance by the cruise sector.

Information was not readily available from officials of Barbados Port Inc., and though Ince said they would be in a better position to provide the overall statistics, he observed the cruise numbers continued to “trend in the right direction”.

“It certainly was the busiest cruise season that Barbados has ever had on record. Not only was our transit ship calls strong but our home-porting ships as well,” Ince said, noting that 28 new ships had called on Barbados during the season.

Information provided by Barbados Port Inc. had indicated it was due to have 439 cruise ship calls over the cruise season, which winds down with just about two calls left.

Ince said the Bridgetown Port had been “very busy”, seeing two days with as many as seven cruise ships in, 11 days with six ships, 18 days with five ships and 26 days with four.

With the increase in ships home-porting here, Ince noted this had also resulted in a record year for wide-bodied aircraft out of the United Kingdom and Europe arriving at Grantley Adams International Airport to transport passengers for the home-porting sector.

Veteran hotelier Bernie Weatherhead said the winter season was generally favourable, but the operator of three hotel properties on the South Coast said problems with the sewage system had made it a “devastating” and “costly” winter for two of those properties.

Weatherhead said he was forced to move guests from his Worthing Court Hotel and Anthurium suites next door, and expended “serious money” to address the sewage problem.

“I think in general the winter might compare with the previous winter – flat. It did not go up or down,” he said. (GC)

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