In Barbados: Tourists Still Expected To Spend With Caution

11 October 2011


Vacationers looking for “value for money” while enjoying sun, sea and sand.

Tourism officials have stated that the projection is that we will still see a cautious tourist in terms of spending.

While at the BHTA’s third quarterly meeting. Both Robert Keysselitz, Vice President for Continental Europe and Petra Roach, Vice President for the United Kingdom at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Authority (BHTA) recently indicated the challenges in the markets mean that a value driven guest can be expected.

Roach in her address said, “ The traditional sun, sea and sand is still wanted but persons are looking for adventures and value for your money.”

In general, she reported, “The UK economy is suffering hard times, increases in gas, electricity and other factors are massive concerns. Many householders including pensioners are rationing their spending. It has been stated that this past decade has been one of the worst in terms of living standards for over 60 years in the UK.”

The good news is that the British will not sacrifice their vacation period. Therefore, what happens is that this leads to a very cautious guest. British travellers are extremely aware of the economic situation and recent studies have shown that holiday makers are not that particular any more. They are now interested in value for money.

“We need to focus in on the UK market with key terms such a adventures or exclusive deals such as kids go for free,” she said.

Roach indicated, “The luxury and all inclusive properties continue to show exponential growth because of value for money. Holidays now need some level of discount or value added packaging.”

In terms of UK arrivals to the Caribbean, Barbados continues to be the number one destination but we see the Dominican Republic and Cuba are biting on our heels.

“Barbados is one of the few islands which is currently recording a positive figure out of the UK. We had a strong winter period and unfortunately the months of May and June recorded a decrease.”

In order to capture the market she highlighted, “High consumption of internet complemented by traditional sources.Our focus is having exposure in each market mix. Travel advisor and travel blogs are important so we need to ensure the experience on the ground is positive.”

Keysselitz indicated in terms of the overall condition in continental Europe he explained, “there are difficulties in the Euro zone but Germany is doing well, there is low unemployment, actually lowest in 15 years. The German economy is growing at 1.3 percent even though last year was 2.7 percent, it is slowing down but still doing well.

Nevertheless Germans love to travel because either get paid well. Italy has had political change, the economy is not growing and they are in a massive budget deficit but Northern Italy is incredibly rich and that is what we concentrate on. France still faces challenges.”

The Euro crisis is traumatic because some of the European countries are massively in debt and the government has to protect the currency that causes negative influences.

In Barbados, the Villas have grown by 33.1 percent, all-inclusive properties, 22.5 percent and luxury, 20 percent.In order to tap into the market he pointed out, “We launched Facebook pages in six languages.”

“We have a lot of media coverage of Barbados online. We want to be more in the traditional source such as newspapers. We want to build an energy about Barbados; Rihanna was a great opportunity. Most importantly we need to show why we are different through cultural experiences, friendliness and things to do outside the hotel.”

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