Barbados can expect an increase in tourism activity in the upcoming winter season, says Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ryan Straughn.
Despite the reduction in tourists visiting Barbados this year because of the global rise in the cost of living, he believes there will be an improvement in that regard.
“The forward bookings with respect to tourism look extremely good for the upcoming winter season. We will see significant increase in cruise ship arrivals to the country,” he said during a media briefing at Government Headquarters on Monday.
“You know that we had some issues during the summer with respect to the fall off in that and we hope to be able to see a significant improvement within that particular space as well as during the summer of next year. All things equal, we anticipate that we should see a very strong and robust performance.”
READ: VAT-free shopping on Wednesday in Barbados
Straughn, who also announced a VAT-free holiday on Wednesday during the conference, said the tourism industry still faced several economic challenges. China is still conducting public health measures which continue to cause problems for production and supply chain but it is also increasing the costs associated with products being exported from there.
Straughn, who was Chair of Trade and Economic Policy Committee for four years said: “We’re monitoring that, obviously to further continue the discussion with the private sector in order to ensure that we can mitigate any increase costs, as we have been doing, certainly for most of this year, and we hope to be able to ensure then that a number of critical projects, capital projects under the BERT programme, that those can commence in earnest certainly during the first half of 2023.”
BERT, or the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan, is the island’s home-grown programme under the International Monetary Fund.
Straughn said the Ministry of Finance was confident that Barbados should be able to reach a five per cent growth rate in 2023. As it stands Barbados will end the year with 10 per cent gross domestic product, which is down from just over 11 percent from the previous year. (JC)