Five Questions With Petra Roach, U.S. Director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Two more U.S. branded hotels are expected to open up in Barbados by as early as the middle of 2019, bringing the total amount of U.S.-branded hotels on island to five.

Petra Roach
Petra Roach, director of the U.S. for the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), recently chatted with Travel Agent as part of our new Five Questions with… series and told us a new Wyndham could be completed by as early as the middle of 2019, while a new Hyatt Centric hotel could open as early as the middle to end of 2018. 

Barbados is already home to three U.S.-branded hotels - Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados, Hilton Barbados Resort and the Courtyard Bridgetown Barbados.

Here are the other highlights from that Q&A:

1. What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened at your company this year?

The U.S. market continues on its growth trajectory, with 17 percent growth for the first quarter, which we are incredibly excited about. We continue to stimulate demand for the destination through exciting partnerships like [our ones with] the Brooklyn Nets and the Florida Panthers and are also in discussion with our airline partners about opportunities to make Barbados even more accessible through the opening of new gateways.

The destination is also increasing in rooms, namely with [roughly] 200 additional rooms from Sandals, as well as the upcoming groundbreaking of the new Wyndham and the new Hyatt.

2. What’s trending? What is the consumer asking for?

Consumers continue to look for value for price paid, but we've also recognized the demand for more immersive experiences and a surge in the average length of stay for travelers to [Grantley Adams International Airport].

3. What is the most challenging issue of being in the travel space right now?

The most challenging issue in the travel space is the uncertainty surrounding international travel from the U.S. by non citizens due to travel bans, etc., which actually is causing travelers to be a lot more cautious and, in some instances, hesitant to travel internationally. Understanding the consumer spending journey on nonessentials will also be a very interesting space.

4. Where is your favorite place to travel and why?

Besides Barbados, of course, mine is definitely South Africa. It feels like home, offers diverse experiences and nothing beats a good South African wine, except champagne of course.

5. Where are you off to next? Any personal info or news you’d like to share?

I'm off to Bahrain in a few days for Formula 1 [racing]. I just love the roar of the engines and the smell of rubber burning and checking out which team is carrying the Barbados logo. 

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Want more “Five Questions with…” stories? Check out a recent feature we did on Patricia Maher, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority by clicking here.