Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Incorporated, Alvin Jemmott outlined that during the first six months there were 303 592 long-stay visitors, representing a 14.3 per cent increase or 37 945 more passenger arrivals compared to those for the same period in 2014.
“This exceptional double-digit performance has been credited as the primary reason for the 0.5 per cent increase in local GDP and comes against the backdrop of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s five per cent growth projection for our region for 2015. It also surpasses the global industry forecast issued by the United Nations World Tourism Organization in January this year for international tourist arrivals to increase by three to four per cent. Indeed, we are even above our own internal target for the year,” Jemmott said.
He attributed the increases to several factors including lower oil prices, the change in the United Kingdom’s Air Passenger Duty bands, and falling unemployment in the United States.
Speaking during a press conference at the BTMI’s Warrens headquarters, Chief Executive
Officer William Griffith noted that for each month, with the exception of May, increases of 10 per cent or higher were recorded. In May, there was a six per cent increase over that of 2014.
“The United States recorded the highest growth for the period under review with 25.3 per cent, followed by Canada with 22.6 per cent. The United Kingdom and Germany grew by 13.8 per cent and 11.5 per cent, respectively. The Caribbean and Latin America also posted positive performances with 8.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent increases, respectively,” he added.
Meanwhile, in terms of cruise arrivals preliminary figures for April to June period illustrated that there were 52 cruise ship calls and 115 231 cruise passenger arrivals – an increase of six per cent in calls and 12 per cent in passenger arrivals for the same period in 2014.