Richard Sealy, minister of tourism and international transport for Barbados, recently announced that the island saw a five percent increase in stay-over arrivals last year, an all-time high for the destination.
Over the course of 2017, the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) welcomed 663,441 visitor arrivals, which was 31,308 more than 2016.
The Bridgetown Port Inc. (BPI) also observed tremendous growth, recording 818,752 cruise arrivals over the previous year’s 725,020, for a total increase of 12.9 percent. Of these 818,752 cruise arrivals, some 137,541 passengers stayed over in Barbados, above 2016’s total of 130,924.
The United Kingdom was once again the top producer of arrivals to Barbados with a 33.5 percent market share. Arrivals from this market were flat compared to 2016, totaling 222,322. The United States followed, contributing 28.4 percent of business with 188,970 arrivals for the year. Canada contributed 12.8 percent of the business, and recorded an increase of 7.9 percent or 85,209 arrivals.
Of special note is the United States, who, while being the second-highest producer of business, grew by a whopping 11.7 percent over 2016. The United States’ 2017 performance was the highest for that market in three decades – since contributing 175,093 arrivals in 1987.
Trinidad and Tobago, "Other Europe" and "Other Caribbean" saw growth of 5.4 percent, 4.1 percent and 3.6 percent respectively, while “Other Central and South America” showed a slight growth with a 0.3 percent increase over 2016.
Sealy attributed the destination’s noteworthy performance to a number of strategic and integrated marketing initiatives which were deployed across Barbados’ top source markets.
Up next for the destination is the annual Connect Barbados B2B conference, which will once again see tour operators travel to Barbados from around the world to experience and learn more about all the island has to offer. The conference is scheduled for May 9-12.