Tourism bookings remain low- BHTA president

The high interest visitors showed in Barbados during the winter season has not been mirrored in the summer, even with the return of Crop Over.

Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Renee Coppin has revealed that numbers for the island’s summer season continue to be down.

Crop Over has returned to the island for the first time in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with both Grand Kadooment and Foreday Morning – two of the biggest events of the Festival – making a comeback after last being held in 2019.

“Tourism is our best chance at this moment to secure the future of our island, however, as we emerge from the pandemic this will not be without its challenges.

“We know that despite strong winter arrivals to the island from December 2021 to April 2022, we’re down 47.1 per cent when compared to 2019 levels. We equally know that while many of our members enjoyed good winter performances our stats say that average hotel occupancies for that same period December 2021, to April 2022, were down by 10.1 per cent,” Coppin said while speaking during the BHTA’s 70th Annual General Meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre today.

“As we look forward we are aware that summer will be a challenge given that inbound passenger flights for all markets in the period June to October 2022 are down by 29 per cent and this is compared to our last normal year 2019. Inbound seats to the island for that same period are down 37.4 per cent.

“We remain positive that even though airlift does not at any point this year return to 2019 levels we will move to a fuller recovery in 2023. We will continue to work with the BTMI to keep them aware of our tactical needs and we ask for all of your support in this process,” Coppin added.

The BHTA chairman admitted that the upcoming summer months presented the biggest challenge.

She maintained that there was a need for Barbados’ summer offerings to visitors to be significantly improved.

“As we look forward as a country we must continue to ensure that we build out both our orange economy and our sports economy so that we have a viable calendar of events and activities to drive business to the island,” Coppin said.

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