Proposed new hotel plant investment of over US$1 billion dollars, which will over the next five years produce some 2,300 rooms, is under way.
This disclosure came recently from Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), William Griffith, during an international media briefing at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s State of the Industry Conference in Curaçao.
Mr. Griffith stated that the investment started with the opening of the luxury all-inclusive Sandals Barbados, which is scheduled to add some 220 rooms in 2016.
This winter, the Sugar Bay Hotel (formerly Amaryllis) and The Sands (formers Sandy Beach) will also open their doors as all-inclusive products, adding 300 new rooms. The Wyndham Hotel project at the site of the iconic Sam Lord’s Castle and the Hyatt Hotel in the historic Bridgetown, will see the island welcoming two new established global hotel brands by 2018.
In addition, 24 hotels have undergone significant refurbishments in time for the 2016 winter season. The CEO pointed out that Barbados has also made significant strides in both its long-stay and cruise arrivals. He noted that some 432,713 long-stay visitors were recorded at the end of September year-to-date, an increase of 14.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, he stated, cruise arrivals were set to increase by five to seven per cent, largely driven by 16 inaugural visits. Among those scheduled calls are the Mein Sheiff 3 and the Carnival Britannia, two mega ships, which are now able to dock following a major expansion project at the Bridgetown Port. The BTMI chief also alluded to a number of initiatives geared toward increasing Barbados’ competitiveness.
“We’ve just completed a brand positioning exercise wherein all of our future marketing campaigns will capitalise on our reputation as a safe, engaging and culturally rich destination – all of the ingredients sought by the contemporary traveller,” he revealed.
Mr. Griffith added that the BTMI’s sister agency, the Barbados Tourism Product Authority, was also implementing a number of initiatives to create new tourism experiences; assure high service and product quality; and increase public awareness of the importance of tourism. Of great importance for Barbados, he pointed out, was the move toward being a year-round destination, a strategy being driven by their dense events calendar.
“In 2016, Barbados will be a hub for visitors, as we will raise the standard of every event in line with our golden celebrations to mark our 50th year of Independence. During these year-long celebrations, there will be chances to win free vacations and free destination weddings, as well as incentives for our top-performing travel agents,” the CEO said.