BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Senior officials at the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and the Ministry of Tourism are projecting record cruise passenger arrivals for 2010-2011.
BTA board member Denis Roach reported that Barbados’ cruise industry is on course to achieve a five per cent increase in passenger arrivals for 2009 when compared against the previous year.
He added that the sector is also on target to see unprecedented growth for the following period.
Information from the major cruise lines indicate that for the period 2010-2011, Barbados should receive over 800,000 passengers and could reach as high as 900,000.
“This number could be a record cruise ship year for us,” explained Roach, who cautioned that these figures are only provisional and subject to change.
In addition to acknowledging the strides made over the years in establishing Barbados as a quality cruise destination, he also spoke optimistically on the future prospects for the sector which continues to outperform gross air passenger arrivals, which peaked at 566,763 in December 2008.
Plans for the sector include increasing the number of home porting ships which engage the services of many suppliers on the island; improving the number of sail-and-stay visitors who also play a crucial role in maintaining the load factors of Barbados’ airline partners.
Roach also acknowledged that there is yet untapped segments within the cruise industry including the thousands of off-duty crew members and the approximately 40 per cent of cruise passengers who do not participate in organised tours, as well as the owners of luxury yachts who, he believes, can be wooed in greater numbers by expanded marina facilities.