Barbados’ tourism sector is on the road to recovery.
Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Renee Coppin revealed that in 2021, the island recorded 143, 409 long-stay arrivals and 96,372 cruise passengers, but there is a glimmer of hope following last December’s performance.
“This is where the good news starts, and the lights begin to glimmer. December 2021 long-stay arrivals were 35,843. That number is 25 per cent of all long-stay arrivals for that year and while it is 50 per cent down on 2019 arrivals, it is almost a 100 per cent improvement on 2020.
“The cruise arrivals for December 2021 were 65,910 or 68 per cent of cruise arrivals for that entire year, a significant bellwether for a resurgence of the almost decimated cruise industry. That number also represents a percentage increase equivalent to its numeric value from the previous year’s base of zero,” Coppin explained.
The BHTA chair was speaking Thursday at the first quarterly general meeting via Zoom, when she noted that restaurants and attractions have reported improved performances for the winter season, starting from December and into 2022. Additionally, the occupancy statistics for the hotel sector for the end of 2021, signalled an optimistic future.
“For hotels, while we ended the year 2021 with an average occupancy of 37.3 per cent only a few percentage points above the 31.6 per cent we averaged in 2021, December certainly made us hopeful. An average occupancy of 66 per cent, followed by occupancy in January 2022 of 68 per cent may be the sign that we are coming to grips with this pandemic in ways that will allow a vast number of us to sustain our livelihoods and rebuild our businesses,” the BHTA chair emphasised.
Despite her optimism about the remainder of the winter season but Coppin acknowledged that tourism stakeholders “still have work to do”.
“With average projected occupancies of 62, 65 and 45% for the remaining months of the winter season February, March, and April respectively we know we still have work to do. With the summer months May and June, for which we have sight, projecting to be 37 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, we have already commenced talks with our partners at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI), as to the need to shore up summer and we eagerly await their summer programme,” she indicated.