Barbados targets US market to boost tourist arrivals
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority Adrian Elcock says Barbados is placing more emphasis on tourists from the United States as it diversifies to cushion the industry from shocks in the external market.
"We're building on a strategy of growing the USA market through new hotel investment," Elcock said Wednesday.
"If we are to achieve growth in our country from tourism, we have to get the US market kicking on all cylinders, that's where the growth potential lies for our country."
Barbados' core tourism market has traditionally been in the UK, but since that country began suffering from a recession over six years ago, the island saw a decline in visitor arrivals.
Declines in its tourism arrival figures began since 2007, but the Central Bank reported a slight improvement of 0.1 per cent growth for the first six months of 2014, compared to -1.6 per cent for the corresponding period last year.
"To mitigate the risk of global shocks, we needed to diversify our markets," Elcock said. "We've recognised that we just cannot grow that market without an abrupt change in strategy.
"We've put in place more airlift than we would ever have had out of the United States.
"We launched Delta on December 4th out of Atlanta and out of the New York City area JFK... We have just got JetBlue to add an additional service into the winter period, starting in January when we will have two flights a day coming in on JetBlue for five days a week.
"We would have more seats into Barbados from the United States than we've had in a very long time," he said.