The recent news that Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) is set to return to Barbados can just be added to a long list of positive 2013 developments to come out of this hot destination.
Perhaps the first major development out of Barbados came in March when the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), the island's main marketing agency, announced that it had been allocated a record amount of funds to promote the country of Barbados over the next financial year, according to Totally Barbados.
The BTA will receive $101.7 million dollars, according to the government's Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2013-2014, a copy of which has been obtained by Totally Barbados. It is the first time resources of this magnitude have been allocated to the tourism industry, which is the country's main money-maker and foreign exchange earner.
In June, the destination welcomed Couples Barbados, the first Couples Resorts property outside of Jamaica. It was announced in January of this year that Couples Resorts had finalized negotiations for the lease of the Almond Casuarina Beach Resort. The former Almond Casuarina Beach Resort will officially become Couples Barbados on June 15. The 280-room resort has undergone a roughly $3 million upgrade program that began in early February.
One of the major projects involved in the re-flagging of the resort is the moving of the property’s spa. The spa will be moved to where the property’s former pizzeria was once housed. The old Kids Club will now be an outdoor fitness area where clients can take part in such classes as yoga and Pilates. Also, a new pool area, which will include a Jacuzzi and will be designated as the property’s "quiet area," will be ready by November.
As for Royal Caribbean, the cruise line is coming back to Barbados after announcing the removal of all their ships, including the Serenade of the Seas, from the Southern Caribbean route more than a year ago.
Accoridng to several media outlets, Richard Sealy, Barbados' minister of tourism and international transport, said recently that two vessels - the Jewel of the Seas, which started sailing from May, would now come to Barbados throughout the year; while the Quantum of the Seas’ service would be incremental from November 2014.