BARBADOS, Bridgetown. July 11, 2016 – Long stay visitors to Barbados spent 20 percent more money during the first quarter of 2016 than during the same period in 2015.
These are the findings of the quarterly survey conducted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) on behalf of the destination. According to the report, total visitor expenditure on island grew from US $280 million to US $337 million in the first quarter. This was achieved through a 14.9 percent increase in visitor average length of stay and a total growth of 7.4 percent in visitor arrivals. The latter compensated for a decline in the average daily spend of 5.6 percent to generate the recorded growth in expenditure of US $57 million in the first quarter of 2016.
Overall Barbados was able to achieve growth in the average length of stay for all markets during the period with the exception of the Caribbean which remained unchanged. This resulted in an overall increase of 8.9 percent in the visitor expenditure per person per trip. Additionally, all markets, with the exception of the Caribbean, recorded increases in visitor expenditure per person per trip, with the USA leading the way with an significant 42.4 percent increase in spending by American guests. Conversely, the Caribbean was the only market that did not record an increase in the visitor expenditure per person per trip. Instead, there was a 28 percent reduction in average daily spend from that market.
A breakdown of the spending by market during the first quarter revealed that the visitors from the USA market spent the most on average per day; US $240.78 represented an increase of 22 percent or US $43.75.
This coincides with an improved US economy and lower oil prices, as well as additional airlift out of Boston and New York during the reporting period, which generated more than 4800 additional seats.
There was an increase in expenditure from all of the markets, with the exception of the Caribbean. Visitors from the UK contributed to 43 percent of the overall total expenditure with US $146 million, an increase of US $23 million over Q1 2015. Total expenditure by visitors from the USA and Canada followed with US $83 million and US $53 million, respectively. Meanwhile, spend by European visitors totaled US $27 million, an increase of eight percent. On island spend by travelers from other countries, which include Latin America, Asia and Africa rose by three per cent to approximately US $10 million.
Respondents, who represented one person per family and/or spending party, also revealed details on how they spent their holiday monies.
The largest share of traveler’s spend, 55.1 percent, went to accommodation, a decline of 2.6 percent year-on-year. This was followed by food and beverage outside of the accommodation establishment, 18.2 percent, an increase of 0.5 percent.
Miscellaneous spending was recorded at 10 percent, 1.8 percent more than in the first quarter of 2015, while transportation, entertainment/ recreation and souvenirs all recorded small increases. Shopping for items not categorized as souvenirs was the only category of spending to record a small decline of 0.6%.
Spending by Types of Accommodation
The CTO report also examined spending by types of lodging. Visitors using ‘Other Hotel Accommodation’, a category which includes the vast majority of hotel accommodation with the exception of all-inclusive properties, had the largest average daily spend of US $305.69 an increase of 12.5 percent or US $33.97 over Q1 2015. Barbados achieved increases in average daily spend in the majority of other accommodation categories, including Guest Houses, Friends and Relatives, Villas and Condos. However, decreases were registered for persons staying in all inclusive accommodation, apartments and ‘Other’ category.
CEO, William Griffith of The Barbados Tourism Marking Inc. (BTMI) mentioned that, “ We continue to be very encouraged by the positive direction in visitor arrivals and, even more importantly, in visitor expenditure. This makes the role of the BTMI and our partners at the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) so important in creating more exciting and compelling ways for visitors to spend their money on the island.
Hoteliers had predicted a strong first quarter and these results reflect that expectation. This is just one quarter so we continue to be very cognizant and focused on sustained success in the tourism sector. The recent Brexit decision in the UK has posed a challenge in our number one source market. We are confident that our entire team will rise to the challenge of influencing continued positive growth in the industry”