Supplier: Barbados Tourist Board
Visitation from the United States to Barbados saw another record-breaking year in 2018 following the success of 2017’s record number of arrivals. Of the total 681,197 stay over visitors recorded for the year, 204,830 visitors were from the US.
High-level airline partnerships have been a cornerstone effort for BTMI’s US. office. This strategy has led to increased airlift and the introduction of new gateways.
In December 2018, American Airlines introduced two important service changes from the US to Barbados. This was a third daily flight from Miami and for the first time, daily service from Charlotte, N.C.
Furthermore, JetBlue is expanding its seasonal direct service from Newark to weekly direct service year-round beginning on May 4, 2019.
Travel Industry Events
To showcase the island’s ever-growing range of offerings to the travel agent community, BTMI hosted the third annual “Spirit of Barbados” Mega Familiarization Trip which brought over 150 agents from across the United States to Barbados.
In December, the island hosted the inaugural Millennial Travel Forum. This brought 15 top-producing Millennial travel advisors to the island for a multi-day immersion and roundtable discussion.
Launched by travAlliancemedia, this event encouraged the participants to engage their followers and spark conversations about the relevance of the destination and the product offering for the Millennial segment.
In 2018, the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) also hosted their annual convention which was a monumental affair as top writers and travel industry executives descended on the island of Barbados for the four-day conference.
The conference provided BTMI with a forum to discuss its many initiatives for 2018 and beyond. A primary focus has been on educating American travelers on the many – and often unknown – linkages between the U.S. and Barbados.
The burgeoning heritage tourism segment has become a top draw for visitation as well and it is estimated 9-10 million people in the U.S. of varying racial makeup are of Bajan heritage – a reflection of Barbados’ pivotal role in early America.
Rihanna as Ambassador
Possibly one of the most well-known Barbados natives, Rihanna was appointed “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary” in 2018. By continuing to provide significant exposure for the island in the U.S. and globally.
A tourism ambassador for BTMI since 2008, Rihanna stepped into her new role with expanded responsibilities as an official diplomat for her home country. The singer, actress, and head of the Fenty brand, also makes regular high-profile visits to the country annually, particularly for Crop Over.
The year 2019 will also be known as the “Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure,” an effort meant to draw attention to the island’s diverse healthy lifestyle experiences.