Full tourism recovery ‘still far off’

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Rudy Grant, has warned that the road to full tourism recovery “may still be two or three years away”, despite current indications that the industry is “on the rebound”.

The BHTA head’s observation comes on the heels of last week’s glowing occupancy report by the organisation’s hotel membership.

In a news release issued yesterday, Grant said the BHTA’s research and member feedback indicated that the 2021-2022 winter season was “promising” and, in that regard, there was cautious optimism. However, he noted the COVID-19 environment continued to be “fluid”, which meant that the tourism landscape could be “negatively impacted with little warning”.

“In December 2021, occupancy was estimated at 65.8 per cent in comparison to 45.1 per cent in 2020 and 75.7 per cent in 2019. This highlights that while occupancy is improving, it is not back to the 2019 levels. The projection is for a reasonably well-performing winter with occupancies for the months of January, February, March and April 2022 projected at 66 per cent, 62 per cent, 65 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively,” Grant said.

However, he advised that in any assessment of tourism performance it was important to highlight that although tourism business was returning, the total hotel revenues received in 2021 were only “approximately 43 per cent of the 2019 revenues”. (GC/PR)

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