Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. reported a 3.1 percent increase in 2018 from January to June when compared with same period last year. The United Kingdom marked the largest share of visitors, 33.3 percent, and the United States saw a comparatively large 8.8 percent growth in its total travelers.
From January to June this year, Barbados saw 357,668 stayover visitors, 10,819 more than the first half of 2017. This growth translated to an increase of 3.1 percent.
Of the top five source markets, the U.K. leads the pack with over 119,241 visitors, an increase of 2.8 percent from 2017. Accounting for 30 percent of the market, the U.S. sent 107,328 travelers. BTMI reported 52,236 arrivals from Canada, a 2.9 percent growth from the previous year.
BTMI sees the growth as a direct result of new airlift and experiences. The group’s CEO, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, cited the new Rihanna Drive, Nikki Beach and Sandals Royal resort. Over the next six months Griffith said BTMI will work closer with its partners to ensure the growth continues into the winter and the coming years.
Virgin Atlantic will provide twice-weekly service, new last year, from London Heathrow to Barbados this winter. Around the same time Thomas Cook will also recommence its weekly service from London Gatwick. Starting with its first flight on July 17, Copa Airlines offers twice weekly service from Panama, providing easier access from South America.
In North America, American Airlines will introduce a third daily flight from Miami and new non-stop daily service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, both beginning December 19. WestJet in Canada is in the process of increasing its seats by 8 percent from May to October. In Montreal this winter, Air Canada will begin offering three weekly flights.