Accommodation bookings are once more trending in the correct direction, for at the very least the subsequent two months, based on the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).
Nonetheless, there may be growing concern amongst tourism stakeholders over an emerging dip in projected occupancy for the summer, which is currently below expectations.
Chairman of the BHTA Renee Coppin revealed that as much as bookings increased in the course of the Betway Twenty20 International cricket series in Barbados last month, local bookings are on the right track to receive a much-needed boost in March when the British return for the Barbados leg of a Test tour of the Caribbean.
“I feel, historically, we have now had a positive response; the truth is, probably more so to Test cricket because individuals are coming here for a vacation experience and, subsequently, staying for seven to 14 days and having fun with a Test while they’re here is something that actually English people aren’t going to baulk at,” Coppin told Barbados TODAY.
“So we have now had a really strong interest within the Test series and I feel as strong an interest as we have now had within the T20s, and we hope for a positive March by way of occupancy and revenues,” the tourism executive added.
Despite the economic gains from the T20 series between West Indies and England, there was some concern about spectators at Kensington Oval not adhering to the national mask-wearing mandate.
“By way of the protocols on the matches, that’s something that I’m not qualified to talk to. The COVID-19 Monitoring Unit and the Ministry of Health may have to talk to that,” said Coppin.
“A number of our guests are able where the countries they arrive from are moving away from mask-wearing and people kinds of protocols, particularly at outdoor venues, and it’s turn into more a discretionary issue. Obviously, we aren’t at that stage yet in Barbados and we’re firmly of the opinion that when in Barbados, you need to do as Barbadians do.
“Nonetheless, that just isn’t really our mandate. We should be led and guided by the Ministry of Health. So I await their determination in that regard,” she added.
Within the meantime, occupancy rates that are currently hovering around 62 per cent are expected to extend to 65 per cent next month before falling to 45 per cent in April. The projected trends falter to 35 per cent in May before plummeting to 30 per cent in June, said the BHTA chairman.
“Clearly we have now a challenge ahead of us, especially in a situation where not only our revenues but our revenues per available room have dropped significantly over the 2019 figures,” lamented Coppin.
“So we wish to maximise the returns by way of these Test matches and searching forward to the season. Over the summer, we wish to see what summer events we are able to bring on stream to try to construct out interest in travel to Barbados,” she added.
The BHTA’s Chief Executive Officer Rudy Grant is optimistic that the present slow bookings over the summer months could improve with a marketing boost from considered one of the association’s key partners.
“Now we have signalled to the [Barbados Tourism Marketing Incorporated] BTMI that we’d like to have some discussion with respect to what marketing tactics we might engage in for the summer period,” he said. [email protected]