Archive for August, 2021

Barbados Tourism Rebounds

Barbados recorded over 10,000 air passenger arrivals after months of being hard-hit by a global pandemic.  For the first time since December 2020, the local tourism industry has recorded a major tourism milestone with the latest statistics from the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) suggesting a positive turn for the industry ahead of the 2021/2022 winter season.

During the period July 2021, some 10,819 visitors travelled to Barbados. This total represented a significant increase of 6,745 visitors when compared to the corresponding period of July 2020.

The United States (US)came out on top as they copped a 43.3% market share, while the United Kingdom (UK) contributed 34.4% of business with 3,722 arrivals for the reporting period.  This occurred after Barbados was added to the UK COVID-19 Green watchlist. Barbados has been fortunate to be placed on this list for the second time since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.

For the same period, Caribbean arrival figures stood at 1,391 and 390 arrivals from Canada.  This  represented an increase in arrivals from both markets year on year.

Interim CEO of BTMI, Craig Hinds, described the achievement as a step in the right direction after the tireless efforts, on and off scene, to re-build the tourism product.

He stated that “Barbados has, and continues to weather this COVID-19 storm, but while this period has been difficult for the industry, the BTMI is so pleased to see the recent sprouts of positive growth. This growth is a direct result of the excellent sales and marketing efforts in our overseas markets through campaigns like our “Sweet Summer Savings” promotion, as well as maintaining strong partnerships with our airline, cruise and tourism partners.”

Promotional Activities in Market

BTMI continues to tow a line of strong representation in the United States market, sponsoring this year’s “Citi Open” which was held in Washington, D.C.  This resulted in Italian teenager and competition winner, Jannik Sinner, winning a five-day/four-night vacation to Barbados.

Taking place from July 31 – August 8, 2021, “Citi Open” was the fifth biggest event in US professional tennis, and featured some of the best tennis players. Known to align with world-class partners, the event also attracts VIPs and celebrities, along with over 5,600 hours of global broadcast in 177 markets.

Not far away in New York City, all eyes were on Barbados for “Fox and Friends with Chef Javon Cummins” as the flavours of Barbados filled the Fox Square. Chef Javon Cummins, joined the hosts of Fox and Friends for their wedding taste testing segment. This time through culinary, activities like this, which  displays all that Barbados has to offer, have proven why visitors continue to choose Barbados as their destination of choice.

Barbados was also on show in Greenwich, Connecticut, where the “2021 Greenwich Polo Season” provided a major boost for the island’s tourism product. The interim CEO of BTMI said that “it was the perfect partnership for Barbados as Greenwich, Connecticut is ideally located within close proximity to New York.  It is easily accessible to residents who utilizes JFK as the preferred airport of choice for both commercial and private jet travel. This partnership provided us with an opportunity to engage and reposition Barbados as a viable post-COVID option for affluent travellers with above average disposable income as we defend existing airlift from JFK, while trying to create the environment for incremental capacity as circumstances permit.”

Patrons were also treated to the culinary delights of Barbadian Chefs such as Chef Creig Greenidge, Chef Trevon Stoute and Chef Javon Cummins.

Promotional Activities in Barbados

In July, BTMI teamed up with Sandals Resort as they brought fifteen United States radio stations from eleven cities to Barbados to give listeners a chance at winning a four-day/three-night vacation to Sandals Resort in Barbados. The radio stations broadcasted live from Sandals Royal Barbados and included tourism officials led by Sen. the Hon. Lisa Cummins, Minister of Tourism and International Transport. The promotion, which was also supported by American Airlines, reached over 4,000,000+ listeners.

Additionally, Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley, was the highlight of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) filming with award-winning journalist and presenter, Zeinab Badawi. Ms. Badawi and crew visited Barbados to film two episodes of Global Questions with Prime Minister Mottley and the Hon. Kirk Humphrey, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy.  Key topics facing the island and the region were tackled; as well as one episode of “Hard Talk” with Sir Hilary Beckles. The episodes aired this month to their entire BBC World viewership.

On the heels of “Global Questions”, British broadcaster ITV followed suit, selecting Barbados as their location to film a segment for their popular daytime talk show, “The Lorraine Show”.  Presenter for the segment was award-winning author Candice Brathwaite, who came to the island to learn more about her Barbadian ancestry. Born and raised in Brixton, London, she was primarily raised by her Bajan grandparents who came to the UK as part of the Windrush Generation.

Welcome Stamp

Also contributing to the increasing arrival numbers, was the “Welcome Stamp” programme.  It was not surprising to see that the majority of uptake came from the destination’s primary source markets of the U.S., U.K., Canada and Ireland.

With one year of success already under its belt, the “Welcome Stamp” programme was recently renewed for another year, presenting openings for more digital nomads and other professionals to live and work from Barbados.

Mr. Hinds stated that “the programme has proven to be a successful innovation which has positioned Barbados as a leader in the world’s eyes as we adapt our tourism product to complement the changing global climate.” He added that “many global citizens have made Barbados their home; millennials, families and investors alike, and BTMI is therefore looking forward to continuing the  promotion of the initiative for another year, allowing those already here to extend their stay, while  giving prospective “Welcome Stampers” the chance to experience all that Barbados has to offer.”

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The Bahamas Welcomes New Crystal Cruises Voyages Starting This Fall

NASSAU, Bahamas, August 19, 2021 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is excited to add three new Crystal Cruises voyages to its growing roster of itineraries starting this fall and into the peak winter season. Crystal Cruises has announced its new series of sailings aboard the Crystal Symphony, as the cooler season approaches.

“We are thrilled for continued demand for cruising in The Bahamas and look forward to welcoming those travelers this fall,” said the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation. “Crystal Cruises has proved to be a fruitful partnership not only for The Bahamas’ cruising industry, but also for the local tourism industry as it allows passengers to get off the ship and explore the business, tour operators and activities across our Family Islands.”

The Bahamas will kick off the multi-season long additions, first with a seven-night voyage, Bound for Paradise, launching November 26, 2021, from New York City to Nassau, calling on San Salvador, Great Exuma and Bimini.

Cruisers can start off the New Year right in The Bahamas on December 29, 2021, via the Tropical New Year’s Celebration voyage, which includes a 10-night cruise from Miami, Florida to Bimini, San Salvador, Long Island and Great Exuma, with a final stop with our neighboring Caribbean brothers and sisters in Jamaica.

The Blissful Bahamian Luxury voyage will have several departures starting January 22, 2022, from Miami, including stops in Bimini, Nassau, San Salvador, Great Exuma and Long Island. The series will have two additional sailings on February 12, 2022 and March 5, 2022.

Crystal Cruises has changed the way travelers cruise in The Bahamas, allowing passengers to explore the wonders of the Family Islands beyond the beautiful waters, including wildlife, historical landmarks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, local shopping and dining.

For more information about the upcoming Crystal Symphony launch, please visit

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New Sanitary Measures In Martinique

New York, August 12 – New measures were adopted by the Prefecture of Martinique on Monday, August 9, establishing reinforced lockdown in Martinique for a period of 3 weeks, starting Tuesday, August 10, at 7:00 p.m.

In view of the situation, the Prefecture of Martinique has recommended that vulnerable and unvaccinated tourists not continue their stay.

The Martinique Tourism Authority has specified that sanitary conditions are no longer met for stays in optimal conditions.

However, accommodation establishments will not be closed administratively during this period of lockdown. Visitors will therefore to have time if they wish to consider what to do, while complying with the new sanitary measures in force. The Martinique Tourism Authority is mobilized to respond to visitors’ requests for information and to provide assistance for their departure from the island.

Hotels and vacation rental platforms are offering flexible, no-cost deferral and cancellation terms tailored to this crisis. In addition, the four main airlines that serve Martinique at this moment (Air France, Air Caraïbes, Corsair and Air Belgium) have revised their flight plans to help French and Belgian holidaymakers organize their departure in the coming days. Air Caraïbes will provide up to three round trips per day between Fort-de-France and Paris. On the Air France side, three flights per day will be operated on August 11 and 12 from Fort-de-France, then two flights per day from August 13 to 15. As of Wednesday, the aircraft used by the company will have a higher capacity (up to 160 additional passengers). In addition, all passengers whose return was scheduled by August 22 and who wish to return to France before August 15, will be able to reschedule their departure at no additional cost.

Concerning U.S. travel to and from Martinique, American Airlines is due to resume its non-stop flights from Miami to Fort-de-France early November of this year.

For more information :

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Cruise Resumes: Carnival Sunshine Calls at Ocho Rios on Monday

KINGSTON, Jamaica; August 13, 2021: Cruise operations will resume in Jamaica on Monday, August 16th, 2021. The Carnival Sunshine is scheduled to call at the Port of Ocho Rios and is the first cruise ship with international passengers to call at a Jamaican port since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will mark a major step in the phased reopening of Jamaica’s tourism sector, which has been adversely impacted by the global pandemic.

“I am very pleased to advise that Jamaica will finally see the return of cruise on Monday August 16th. We welcome this resumption as we know that thousands of Jamaicans depend on the cruise shipping industry for their livelihood, and it will have a positive impact on our economy in general,” said Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

“I want to assure the public that this call is being managed in accordance with strict health and safety COVID-19 protocols which are guided by global standards and best practices to ensure the safety and protection of our citizens as well as visitors.   Additionally, the vessel is being managed in alignment with the Conditional Sailing Order for Simulated and Restricted Voyages promulgated by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). The arrival of the Carnival Sunshine on Monday marks a significant milestone in recovery efforts and the resumption of cruise operations, which was suspended in light of the pandemic,” he added.

“Under the strict measures governing the restart of cruise shipping approximately 95% of the crew and passengers are fully vaccinated and all passengers are required to provide evidence of negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of sailing,” Minister Bartlett explained. It was also outlined that in the case of unvaccinated passengers, a PCR test is mandated, and all passengers will also be screened and tested (antigen) on disembarkation.

While on board, the crew will also be required to adhere to strict protocols mandated by the official framework for Conditional Sailing Order. This requires that preventative measures be taken, and surveillance and response mechanisms be present on board at all times.

Professor Gordon Shirley, President & CEO, the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), indicated that “the call by Carnival Sunshine is a representation of months of consistent collaboration and dialogue with our cruise line partners and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW). These stakeholders provided tremendous support and guidance to assist the PAJ with realigning operations with global standards considering the new COVID-19 operational paradigm.  In preparation for the resumption of cruise shipping operations in Jamaica, we have upgraded all our port facilities in accordance with guidelines and COVID-19 protocols and all our ports are retrofitted with isolation rooms and sanitation facilities.”

He added that: “We have worked very closely with the MoHW over the past year and having heeded their advice, followed the science, so the PAJ is confident in our ability to provide our usual award winning cruise passenger experience in a safe and secure environment, despite the challenges of COVID-19. We are truly grateful to the MoHW and our cruise partners for their unwavering support during testing times and look forward to the resumption of our cruise sector as we are cognizant of the significant positive impact the industry has on other businesses and the Jamaican economy in general.”

“We are delighted to be the first cruise ship to return to Jamaica and to offer guests an opportunity to experience all of the country’s beauty,” said Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line. “On behalf of Carnival, I would like to personally thank the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and our partners for working with us to bring safe cruising back to Jamaica,” she added.

Passengers will be allowed to disembark the vessel to participate in tours within the COVID-19 Resilient Corridors, which have been in place for stop-over visitors with a demonstrated record of performance for over a year. The positivity rate within the corridors is at 0.6 percent.

The corridors are jointly monitored by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

“The Government of Jamaica has been in discussion with several cruise lines, and relevant stakeholders, regarding an efficient restart of cruise operations whilst observing health and safety protocols. We are therefore very happy that this is finally a reality.  I commend the efforts of all the stakeholders including the PAJ, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and Jamaica Vacations Limited (JAMVAC) for their contribution to ensuring a safe and secure resumption of cruise operations in Jamaica,” said Minister Bartlett.

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines Successfully Implements ‘Bubble’ as it Welcomes the First Cruise Ship for the 2021/22 Cruise Season

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent and the Grenadines August 11, 2021: On Saturday 7th August, 2021, St. Vincent and the Grenadines welcomed its first cruise line for the 2020/2021 season, after a hard hit to the cruise sector in 2020. Seaborn Odyssey, one of the world’s leading luxury cruise ships, visited the Grenadine island of Bequia with a fully vaccinated occupancy of 341 crew members and 81 passengers.

In addition to the warm Vincentian hospitality received by passengers and crew of Seaborn Odyssey, a short welcome reception was held to celebrate the momentous resumption of the cruise season. Seaborn Odyssey is expected to visit these shores bi-weekly until the end of October.

Passengers and crew who disembarked Seaborn Odyssey were a part of an organised ‘bubble’; where they were restricted to selected locations on island and their interactions were limited to only vaccinated service providers. The bubble is established to ensure that cruise lines abide by the prevailing precautionary measures outlined in the Cruise Tourism Protocols.

The first call of the Seaborn Odyssey was used as a trial run to assess the implementation of the Cruise Tourism Protocols for the upcoming Cruise Season.

According to Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Sustainable Development and Culture Carlos James, the captain and crew of the Seaborn Odyssey expressed full satisfaction with the implementation of the Cruise Tourism Protocols during Saturday’s call.

“We have developed a comprehensive draft of the Cruise Protocols detailing how cruise passengers are expected to function within the bubble, and Saturday’s exercise was an excellent indication that with the Cruise Tourism Protocols the resumption of Cruise Tourism can work, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Minister James said.

Following the successful cruise call of Seaborn Odyssey, Minister James noted that the Ministry will be working closely with stakeholders to safely extend the bubble to include other tourism sites and establishments across St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We have to ensure that all stakeholders benefit, inclusive of taxi operators, tour guides and vendors, providing that they are in compliance with the Cruise Tourism Protocols set by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism. The safety of the general public remains paramount during the cruise season,” Minister James said.

The restart of the season is due to the support shown by stakeholders within the Tourism and Hospitality Industry; as the thrust and commitment to revitalize the socio-economic benefits of this lucrative industry is at the heart of many stakeholders.

The 2021/22 cruise season is projected to be the year of resuscitation for the hard hit sector, so far, 224 cruise ships are expected to call this season, when compared to no cruise calls last year.

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