Barbados Left Unaffected by Hurricanes, But Confusion Impacting Tourism

by Harvey Chipkin
Barbados Left Unaffected by Hurricanes, But Confusion Impacting Tourism

Photo: Barbados.


Barbados has not been hit by a hurricane since 1955 and has not been affected by either of the recent mega-storms, Irma and Maria but it is still suffering from their impact.

According to Petra Roach, director, USA for the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., confusion with the island of Barbuda, and general lack of knowledge about Caribbean geography, has had an impact on its tourism outlook.

“We are totally empathetic with the victims of these storms and are very proud to be part of the Caribbean region,” Roach told TMR, “but travel agents should recognize that we are not in the hurricane belt.”

“It is business as usual for us with lots of events that agents could package,” she added.

Prior to the hurricanes, Barbados had been enjoying positive news on the tourism front.

It has seen additional routes recently with more to come in the near future, including a once-weekly flight out of Newark this season that will start Nov. 19 and run through April. If successful, that service will be expanded, according to Roach.

Air arrivals from the U.S. were up 20% in the first four months of 2017. The U.S. is the island’s second biggest market after the U.K. but is growing rapidly. In addition, cruise passenger arrivals rose more than 25% during the same period.

On the hotel front, the 220-suite Sandals Royal Barbados will open in December (the second for the brand on the island) with a number of Sandals firsts: first rooftop pool and bar, first 4-lane bowling alley, first men’s only barbershop and two new restaurant concepts – American Tavern and Chi Asian.

In 2019, the 450-room Sam Lord’s Castle Barbados, A Wyndham Grand Resort, will open on the site of Sam Lord’s Castle. It will be the first Wyndham-branded resort on the island. Also coming are Hyatt and Beaches properties.

Meanwhile, Barbados maintains its traditional appeal as a comfortable, accessible destination, said Roach.

“It’s like a familiar denim jacket that you feel good in,” she said. “It always gives you a good feeling to wear.  We have 42% repeat business because people feel comfortable coming here.”

Roach also attributes the island’s appeal to the fact that it has a high standard of living and literacy rate, which results in an “absence of barriers between visitors and locals.”

“There are no private beaches and we have a lot of history with the U.S.,” she said.

In recent years, Barbados has worked to move beyond being a sun and sea vacation – promoting its culture, history and cuisine.  “We have one of the top dining scenes in the Caribbean, with incredible seafood,” said Roach.

Among the festivals that Roach believes are good opportunities for agents to package are the Barbados Food & Rum Festival (November 16-18, 2017) and the Barbados Annual Cricket Extravaganza in July each year.

The island is also targeting the family market. This past summer saw the first “Brilliant Barbados: Kids Stay and Play free” campaign with youngsters 16 and under staying free in participating hotels and playing free at participating attractions when accompanied by a paying adult. The promotion ends Oct. 31.

Barbados has a travel agent specialist program called Barbados Elite Club, offering education and support for travel professionals.

  14
  3
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Best Coastal Florida Cities

1. St. Pete Beach

2. Miami

3. St. Augustine

4. Sarasota/Siesta Key

5. Key West

Source: Thrillist

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=790331bd-ff88-e811-853f-782bcb667b27

Artificial Intelligence is the Future the Jetsons Told Us About

Customer loyalty is the ultimate reward for travel agents who tap into artificial intelligence. While still early in its application to travel, many companies are quickly realizing the need to implement AI to improve their travel customer service and trip planning.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
New Zealand Announces New Tourist Tax
New Zealand Announces New Tourist Tax

The tax will be implemented starting in mid-2019.

New York City Council Rules Airbnb Must Disclose Host Information
New York City Council Rules Airbnb Must Disclose Host Information

The ongoing battle between the home-sharing service and the city took another turn. 

EU Says Airbnb Not in Compliance with Consumer Regulations
EU Says Airbnb Not in Compliance with Consumer Regulations

Airbnb has until the end of August to propose changes to make its terms and conditions fairer and easier to understand.

Once Again, Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende Tops Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best List
Once Again, Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende Tops Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best List

Several perennial favorites made the list, but Mexico notably took three of the top 15 spots for the world's best cities.

Perillo Tours to Launch 360 Video Travel Agent Campaign
Perillo Tours to Launch 360 Video Travel Agent Campaign

Virtual reality is gearing up to create vast changes in our culture and entertainment, including the way travel agents sell and the way consumers research travel.

Intrepid Travel to Launch New Backpacking Alternative Tour Brand
Intrepid Travel to Launch New Backpacking Alternative Tour Brand

Tour operator’s sister company, Geckos Adventures, has been absorbed in a strategic move to offer 'stress-free' and a sustainable, affordable alternative to backpacking.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Norwegian Cruise Line