MIAMI, FLORIDA, (August 27, 2010)

Cruise is in the forefront of the Barbados Tourism Authority’s (BTA) new marketing thrust. It is described by Ryan Blackett, Director, Cruise Tourism, as having “the ability to transform the tourism landscape.” The Caribbean is at present the number one cruise destination in the world, although it has stiff competition from Europe.

According to Blackett, “cruise tourism can be the answer to the shortfall in our leisure business if the correct strategies are implemented today. We are getting increasingly more arrivals as a result of cruise and stay, and this is impacting our overall leisure numbers.” In addition, Barbados has entered into an agreement with the Carnival cruise line which guarantees 1.2 million passengers to the island over the next three years.

Short term tactics related to cruise include day passes for cruisers, which are meant to benefit hoteliers with possible incremental business. This tactic is meant to be completely developed by two months from now.

Planning is still on-going for the first of three familiarization trips. Planned for September, it will target travel agents from across the USA who already sell Barbados as a part of their package and those interested in introducing Barbados to their clients.

The cruise consultation which is planned for early September is meant to involve all the stakeholders in the cruise industry. They will have the opportunity to discuss critical issues and industry trends and seek to find resolutions to matters at hand.

The BTA’s cruise tourism website will soon be re-launched and will feature links to improve island spend. and new imagery in keeping with the new branding of the destination. Meanwhile, the figures for cruise give reason for optimism. In 2008, the cruise passengers who landed in Barbados numbered 597,523. The figures for 2009 were 635,212. From January to June, 2009, 368,157 cruise passengers enjoyed Barbados’ treats compared with 368, 327 for t the same period this year.

World Travel Market in London England saw the launch of Smile Caribbean Group Travel, which is a Joint Venture between Foster & Ince Group and two leading Tourism operators based in the UK. The Barbados Tourism officials attending the launch meeting included Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, David Rice President of the BTA, BHTA President Wayne Capaldi and BTA Director Levere Richards. They were informed of the initiative by Directors Martin Ince, Graeme Walker and Edward Ince.

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