The first English ship touched the island on May 14th, 1625 under the command of Captain John Powell. The island was therefore claimed on behalf of King James I.


On February 17th, 1627, Captain Henry Powell landed with a party of 80 settlers and 10 slaves to occupy and settle the island. This expedition landed in Holetown formerly known as Jamestown. The colonists established a House of Assembly in 1639. It was the 3rd ever Parliamentary Democracy in the world (Barbados History).


During the 1630s, sugar cane was introduced to the agriculture. The production of sugar, tobacco and cotton was heavily reliant on the indenture of servants.


Barbados - Carolina Connection - The first English settlement in what is now called South Carolina was made in 1670, when William Sayle sailed up the Ashley River with three shiploads of English emigrants from Barbados and Bermuda.

18th century

The first well known freed woman to own a hotel in Bridgetown was Rachel Pringle.


Barbados was known for its healthy climate that George Washington travelled to the Caribbean island of Barbados, the only foreign country he ever visited, with his half-brother Lawrence, who hoped that climate would cure his tuberculosis. George Washington became the first President of the United States of America.

19th Century

Tourism evolved around a human experience which included cultural and recreational activities.

19th century

Atlantis Hotel was the first hotel on the east coast.


Villa Nova in St. John was converted into a historic inn with a 26 hotel rooms including restaurants and meeting rooms. It was Barbados’ the first inland hotel.


Sir Robert Schomburgk, German- born explorer for Great Britain, was stationed in Barbados. While on the island he gathered information to compile a geographical and statistical description of the island. He was one of the first to laud Barbados as a tourist destination.


Piped water was introduced into the City.

By 1880

There were at least 7 steamer lines with passengers calling weekly at Barbados


In 1881, The line of the railway first section from Bridgetown to Carrington was inaugurated. It encouraged by the advent of the Barbados Railway, civil engineer Donald Simpson conceived the expansion and conversion of the area’s primary dwelling house – Marina Villa – into a hotel.


The complete railway up to Belleplaine was officially inaugurated in 1883 with a festive banquet. This saw tourists travelling from Bridgetown toward the Atlantic Hotel in St. Joseph.


The oldest operating hotel in the Caribbean known as ‘Crane Beach Hotel” was originally opened in 1887.

20th century

Hotels in Bridgetown has begun to diminish in numbers and started to extend outside the city to the surrounded areas closer to the beaches.

By 1909

Cruise ship arrivals increased as well as tourist visited Barbados.


First airplane (International flight) to land in Barbados at Rockley Golf Club.


The Association was established in 1952 as the Barbados Hotel Association (BHA). It was the first hotel association in the Caribbean. The BHA worked closely with the Publicity Committee, a governmental committee responsible for all matters related to tourism.


Hotel Development started to retreat from the City to the south coast.


Seawell Airport was established in 1956, it served Barbados for 23 years, it became outdated because of the rapid growth of air traffic.


Hotel Aids Act of Barbados


The Tourist Board Act was passed and the Barbados Tourist Board


Drawback of Duties Act- created the duty-free experience


In 1960, facilitated by the BHA, the Publicity Committee became the Barbados Tourism Board and previous known as the Barbados Tourism Authority.


The Bridgetown Port, previously known as the Deep Water Harbour or the Bridgetown Harbour, was opened on May 6, 1961, by Sir Grantley Adams, then Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation? The Port has developed over the last 50 years to become the modern Award-winning Bridgetown Port of today, with cargo and cruise being the core areas of its business. (Aired on May 6 – the anniversary date).


The Barbados National Trust, founded in 1961, is an organisation which works to preserve and protect the natural and artistic heritage of Barbados and to increase public awareness of Barbados’ historic and architectural treasures.


Independence from England


George G. Fergusson became the first Minister of Tourism since Independence from Great Britain


Hilton Barbados was opened


A. DaCosta Edwards became the second Minister of Tourism


Barbados saw a change in Ministers of Tourism - K.N.R Husbands, to C.E.Talma to Peter G. Morgan


The present air traffic control tower was completed in 1976 and later that same year the airport was renamed "Grantley Adams International Airport" in honour of Sir Grantley Adams, Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation and now a National Hero of Barbados.


Sir Harold Bernard St. John, KA became the Minister of Tourism and subsequently the Prime Minister of Barbados from 1985 to 1986.


The Concorde first came to Barbados in 1977 to take Her Majesty the Queen back to England. Barbados is the only Caribbean destination (and one of only four countries) to have had regular Concorde service from London.


Established in 1979 as the Barbados Port Authority (BPA), it was then set up as a statutory body to plan, build, develop and maintain the port to a high standard.


In January 1979, the Barbados Port Authority was established? This new administrative arm of the Port was the amalgamation of the government entity known as Port Department and the private company of Port Contractors (Barbados) Limited.


Expansion of the airport to accommodate jumbo-jets and the supersonic Concorde.


Mr. Aaron Truss became the Minister of Tourism.


Sir Branford Mayhew Taitt became the Minister of Tourism and Industry from 1986 to 1987.


Sir Wesley Winfield Hall was a former West Indian cricketer from 1958 to 1969. He later was appointed Minister of Tourism.


Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, KA, PC was appointed as Minister of Tourism. He served as the fourth Prime Minister of Barbados from 1987 to 1994. In 2010, Sir Lloyd served as Barbados' first resident ambassador in Beijing, China.


Barbados cruise port terminal (aka "Deep Water Harbour") is operational since January 14, 1994. The port has 4 deepwater quays with capacity to accommodate up to 6 vessels at a time.


In 1994, the name of the organisation was revised from the Barbados Hotel Association (BHA) to the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA). This was to reflect the broadening scope of membership and to take cognizance of the fact that the tourism industry is not limited to the involvement of hotels only, but was all encompassing, embracing the non-accommodation sector as well.


R. L Cheltenham was appointed Minister of Tourism.


Dame Billie Antoinette Miller, DA first female to be appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tourism and International Transport.


Established an Authority to be known as the Barbados Tourism Authority.


George W. Payne was appointed as Minister of Tourism and International Transport.


Noel A. Lynch was appointed as Minister of Tourism and International Transport. He served as Executive Vice President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association; as a former Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization; Past President of the Caribbean Association of Hotel Association Executives; and Director of the Caribbean Hotel Association.


The Tourism Development Act 2002, which replaces the Hotel Aids Act of 1956, significantly expands incentives for investment in the Tourism and Hospitality sector in Barbados beyond the traditional accommodations sector. Incentives are offered in the new Act to restaurants, recreational facilities and services, development of attractions which emphasise the island’s natural, historic and cultural heritage and for the construction of properties in non-coastal areas.


Richard L. Sealy was appointed as Minister of Tourism and International Transport.


On June 25, 2011 Barbados joined an elite group of nations with world heritage properties when Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and Barbados Tourism Product Authority was created.


The amalgamation of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and Barbados Tourism Product Authority to form the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.


New Minister

Kerrie D. Symmonds retained his seat in the 24 May 2018 election and was appointed Minister of Tourism and International Transport.

February 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic

According to the UNWTO, the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, and tourism has been the worst affected of all major economic sectors.

July 2020

New Minister

Lisa Cummins became the second female Minister of Tourism and International Transport.