Barbados Boosts Capacity for European Air and Sea Travel

Barbados is solidifying its position as a preferred destination for UK and European cruise lines, as it showcased its cruise offerings at the recent Seatrade Europe event held in Hamburg, Germany. Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ian Gooding-Edghill, led a delegation of tourism and port officials to the trade show, which took place from September 6 to 8 and gathered top UK and European cruise lines and suppliers operating in the region.

Gooding-Edghill expressed satisfaction with the strong partnerships Barbados has maintained with UK cruise lines, including P&O, Mein Schiff, and TUI. He also highlighted the continued interest from boutique vessels like Star Clipper and Sea Cloud, which call at Bridgetown Port.

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The Great House

The Minister emphasized the significance of Barbados’ presence at Seatrade Europe, marking the country’s commitment to growing its cruise business in Europe. During the event, Barbadian representatives engaged in fruitful discussions with cruise industry executives, covering topics such as future business prospects, port ratings, customer satisfaction, opportunities for home porting, bunkering arrangements, and pre- and post-cruise stays. The Minister also provided updates on capital projects underway at Barbados’ sole seaport.

Notably, the Minister noted a resurgence in the cruise industry post-COVID, with Barbados projecting an impressive 396 cruise calls and an estimated 722,001 passengers for the winter season of 2023/24. This marks a substantial increase from the previous season, which saw 358 calls and 608,583 passengers. Barbados is on track to achieve an impressive 99% recovery of pre-pandemic levels in the upcoming winter season, rivaling its best-performing season in cruise history in 2018/19, with 384 calls and 726,028 passengers.

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Sandy Lane – Jamoon

In line with Barbados’ strategic approach to building its cruise business, the Minister highlighted the importance of maintaining a balanced approach to airlift capacity. The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) is actively engaged in discussions concerning airline strategies originating from the UK and Europe to meet the growing demand generated by robust sales and marketing efforts in the cruise sector.

Gooding-Edghill also announced a significant development in airlift capacity, stating, “We are pleased to announce that the Condor arrangement will extend beyond winter to become a year-round service. This is a major accomplishment for the BTMI, considering the global challenges associated with airlift, as it will increase capacity for Europe.” This expansion aligns with the BTMI’s strategy to create more opportunities for summer sailings, further enhancing Barbados’ appeal as a destination for European travelers.

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