The bad news is that long stay visitor arrivals have declined in each and every single month over the last consecutive fourteen months. The good news is that in May, the fall was the lowest in that entire period with just 29 less arrivals than the corresponding month last year.
With the end of the only national marketing initiative, Barbados Island Inclusive, we are back again in this massive vacuum of marketing uncertainty. The non-tour operator dependent hotels will now be scrabbling around to see what, if any, additional funds they can spend on promoting their properties.
Up until the end of May, we were already 16,151 long stay visitors down, when compared with the same period in 2012, and that year was down by 31,421 over 2011. Some tourism policymakers are predicting that we (Barbados) will end the year ‘flat’ and hopefully that will be proven right. But sadly, the odds are overwhelming against it. Arrivals would have to average almost 50,000 people each month for the rest of 2013. Especially when you think we have not reached above this target in four out of five months this year, and those included our peak winter months.