Barbados Targeting New Tourism Source Markets

Barbados’ mission is to continuously evolve its tourism product, and the Ministry of Tourism, through the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), has been diligently marketing the island’s product outside of its regular source markets.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ian Gooding-Edghill, provided information about the marketing efforts of the BTMI, this morning, when he delivered a comprehensive overview of this country’s tourism product offerings, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Mr. Gooding-Edghill noted that Barbados has been engaging with Latin American and the Gulf States. “We are confident in our strategy; we are confident in our approach that Barbados will continue to go after strategic markets, in addition to protecting the markets that we’ve had. 

“If you know about the history of Barbados, we’ve always relied predominantly on the UK, Europe, Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean, but if you want to build out and continue to expand your base, you have to look beyond those markets.  We will continue to protect those markets because they’ve been good to us, but we will then endeavour to bring additional visitors to Barbados,” he said.

The Minister disclosed that in an effort to further deepen this country’s relationship with the Latin American market, it would be opening an office in Panama City.

“I’m delighted to tell you that … within about two to three months, maximum, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. will be opening an office in Panama, which would be our Latin American and Caribbean region.  We see that as a significant growth area.  When I took the job, that was one of the first policy decisions that I took that we’re going into the Latin American and Caribbean market in the most fundamental way,” the Tourism Minister stated.

He added that as a result, the Ministry was in discussions with Copa Airlines to expand its services by July.  The airline currently has two flights weekly from Panama to Barbados.

“The strategy being behind that as well is that we need to get into Latin America in a fundamental way.  The office will be fully staffed; we will have a marketing director; we will also have individuals who would work out of Brazil, and we will also serve the greater part of Latin America.  So, we will have a fully staffed office in Panama, with reach into Latin America, and then we will also tactically have some person on the ground in São Paulo, Brazil, to help us build out,” Minister Gooding-Edghill explained.

Other key highlights were:

  • Between the period November 2022 and April 2023, Barbados had 313,820 arrivals by air.  This is an increase from the 211,228 arrivals in the 2021/2022 season;
  • By the end of the summer period, Barbados will recover 90 per cent of the airline seats it had in 2019;
  • From August 15 to September 5, American Airlines will have three daily flights from Miami, and from December 21, 2023, to April 3, 2024, daily flights from Charlotte will be available (excluding Tuesdays and Wednesdays from January 8 to March 4, 2024);
  • Jet Blue will land an additional 12,500 seats in Barbados, as the airline will double the daily service from New York during the summer period;
  • From flights out of Canada, Air Canada will add an additional 8,850 seats during the period May to October, and WestJet will commence twice weekly services from mid-July to October 2023;
  • KLM and Aer Lingus will continue to operate in the 2023/2024 winter season;
  • Condor is returning to Barbados in the winter season with a bigger aircraft containing 310 seats;
  • The winter 2022/2023 cruise season saw a remarkable recovery of 86 per cent when compared to the pre-pandemic level, and during the winter season (September 2022 to April 2023), the island received 360 calls and a total of 615,445 passengers;
  • Four vessels are expected to visit Barbados in summer 2023, three will arrive in May and one in September.  This should bring an estimated 8,896 guests to the island.  Cruise lines scheduled to call in summer 2023 are Ponant Cruises, Disney Cruises, MSC Cruises, and Vantage Cruise Line, and
  • Upcoming hotel developments include Wyndham Grand Resort (2023), Hotel Indigo (2024), and Pendry Hotels & Resorts (2026).