Barbados has set up two new agencies, the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), to bolster its lucrative tourism sector.
The BTMI, which replaces the now defunct Barbados Tourism Authority, will focus on enticing foreign tourists, while the Barbados Tourism Product (BTPA) will work on improving the island’s tourism infrastructure.
“The global travel industry is changing rapidly and it’s absolutely critical for Barbados to respond to those changes equally swiftly, in order to protect and build our visitor economy for the future,” stated Petra Roach, CEO of BTMI, who will soon be replaced by William Griffith, a former senior manager with Sandy Lane Hotel.
Just three hours by air from Miami and eight hours from London, Barbados is a tourist hotspot in the Caribbean. But the sector has experienced some trouble in recent years, with the number of tourists from the UK and the US, who represent approximately 60% of total arrivals, declining by about 9% in 2012.
Although stop-over arrivals decreased, according to the local press, the number of cruise passengers increased by 2% last year. Analysts blame fewer available flights and a slowdown in consumer spending for the decline.
The good news is that Delta Air Lines recently announced plans to launch direct flights to the Caribbean country. Delta, which had discontinued service in 2011, blaming poor demand, will offer two weekly flights from both Atlanta and New York’s JFK airport to Barbados’ Sir Grantley Adams International Airport from Dec. 4, 2014.