More visitors have travelled to Barbados on business so far this year.
The most recent Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) monthly bulletin on visitor arrivals highlighted an increase in the number of tourists coming here on business and to attend conferences.
This comes as information shows that, globally, business travel is rebounding so strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic that its rate of recovery is set to overtake leisure travel by next month.
International travel data analytics provider ForwardKeys said this was based on “the most comprehensive and up-to-date flight ticketing data available”.
Regarding Barbados, the BSS visitor arrival data for March showed that 12 per cent of the people visiting Barbados in the first quarter were here on business or to attend a conference. It was nine per cent in the same period last year.
The first quarter figure for this year was the second most after the 83 per cent who were here for recreation – holiday, visiting family and friends, honeymoon/get married, sports and other recreation.
In the first quarter of last year, 10 022 people journeyed to Barbados on business or to attend a conference, but that number increased by 8 984 to reach 19 006 between January and March this year.
Between January and March 2021, 1 900 people travel here on business or to participate in a conference.
On the international front, ForwardKeys vice president of Insights Olivier Ponti, reported that “throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, business travel flight bookings have been slower to recover than leisure, and currently still are”.
However, he added: “That situation now looks likely to change. As of 30th May, we are seeing that the trend is set to reverse in July, with the recovery in business travel overtaking the recovery in leisure – as business flight bookings are 14 per cent behind pre-pandemic (2019) levels and leisure are 16 per cent behind.”
“Moreover, the gap will probably widen in the autumn, as business bookings for September are just one per cent behind 2019, whereas leisure is eight per cent behind,” he stated.
Ponti added: “It is conceivable the trend of leisure leading the recovery could continue if there is a late surge in summer holiday bookings; but the rise in inflation, including the price of hospitality and airline tickets, makes that unlikely.” (SC)