Grant calls for more value-added
LOCAL HOTELS need to devise new strategies to increase their occupancies.
That’s the view of chief executive officer of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), Rudy Grant, even as the island recorded an 8.1 per cent increase in long-stay visitor arrivals in the first half of this year, compared with the same period last year.
However, Grant said BHTA member properties only reported a 1.5 per cent in occupancy for the January to June period.
Suggesting this was an indication that visitors may be staying elsewhere, he said: “It is therefore appropriate to opine that the increase in overall stayover arrivals is not resulting in a similar increase in occupancy for our accommodation members.
“It is necessary that we confront the new realities and design those actions which provide new value-added experiences to visitors coming to Barbados.”
The BHTA executive has called for some regulation of operators in the shared accommodation sector such as the increasingly popular Airbnb, while acknowledging there was room for this kind of accommodation.
He did not suggest this was the reason for the kind of occupancies BHTA member hotels were experiencing.
Grant reported an 8 per cent increase or 25 896 more stayover visitor arrivals at the end of June this year, with the United States taking the lead in source market growth, followed by Canada with an 18 per cent increase.
The performance in the island’s main source market, the United Kingdom, was “flat” with only 116 007 British visitors coming to Barbados between January and June. Grant advised this poor performance from the British market would affect revenues as visitors from the UK stay longer and spend more daily than visitors from other source markets.
But there was a positive outlook for air arrivals during the coming winter season when there is expected to be an increase of approximately 7 000 airline seats compared with the previous winter season.
The CEO listed flights and increased air service expected from the UK, Canada, the US and the Caribbean that he believed would serve to boost the number of visitors coming into Barbados. (GC)