Wednesday 14 November, 2018

Barbados and Marella Cruises sign homeporting deal for Winter 2018

Rudy Grant, CEO of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA); Cheryl Carter, UK Director of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI); Kevin Yearwood, BTMI Board member; Alvin Jemmott, chairman of the Board of the BTMI; Donna Cadogan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport; Roseanne Myers, chairman of the Board of BHTA; Kerry Hall, CEO of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority; Neil Duncan, General Manager Marketing and Planning at Thomson Cruises.

Rudy Grant, CEO of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA); Cheryl Carter, UK Director of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI); Kevin Yearwood, BTMI Board member; Alvin Jemmott, chairman of the Board of the BTMI; Donna Cadogan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport; Roseanne Myers, chairman of the Board of BHTA; Kerry Hall, CEO of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority; Neil Duncan, General Manager Marketing and Planning at Thomson Cruises.

Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria have led to the loss of some air-to-sea visitors with Carnival removing its liners during the rebuild, but the ink has dried on a Barbados-Marella deal that will see new visitors coming this way.

The UK’s third largest cruise line, Marella Cruises' newest and largest ship Explorer will sail its first ever winter season in Barbados and will be joined by Marella Celebration, operating established itineraries around the Caribbean islands. Marella Cruises, part of TUI UK and Ireland, the UK’s largest tour operator, promises over 60% growth in TUI UK passenger arrivals to Barbados through the addition of Marella Explorer.  

Barbados is the perfect homeport for Marella Explorer and Marella Celebration as customers can fly direct to the island on a TUI Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Marella Cruises will offer fantastic itineraries, great service, entertainment, cruise and stay options, with the friendliest staff at sea.

CEO of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) William ‘Billy’ Griffith, said “The deal we signed with Marella Cruises forms an integral part of our business strategy for maintaining our strength in cruise tourism. There has been a lot of speculation following some cruise itinerary scheduling changes due to neighbouring ports being damaged during the 2017 hurricane season. Our agreement with Marella Cruises doesn’t just have implications for increased revenue, but also refutes any misconceptions that Barbados is not in a good place to welcome visitors. We look forward to our continued partnership with TUI and trust that we have embarked on a very successful venture.”

Last year, Barbados’ agreement with TUI UK & Ireland saw Marella Discovery cruise ship sailing out of the Bridgetown Port, in response to demand from U.K. passengers. The lucrative agreement generated USD $12.7 million in overall revenue for the local economy across a range of categories including Shore Excursions and Accommodation Costs. This revenue was generated from TUI Discovery’s 27,000 cruise passengers and crew, and represented 17.2% growth from the previous year’s activity.

Griffith added that “New homeporting vessels offer us the opportunity to expand shore excursion experiences and consequently visitor expenditure on the island. We are projecting the additional vessel’s economic value to Barbados to be in excess of USD $16 million, topping last year’s USD $12 million performance. We are also currently in negotiations to increase the number of hotels participating in the programme, up from 11 last year to approximately 20.”

Antonia Bouka, General Manager, Tourist Boards and Hotel Partnerships at TUI UK & Ireland, described the agreement as pivotal for both Marella Cruises and Barbados Tourist Board: “For the first time in our company’s history, two ships will be based in Barbados for winter 2018. What is particularly spectacular is that one of the two ships, Marella Explorer, is the latest and largest addition to our fleet, which we are looking forward to launching next year. The new ship represents a new direction for us, with more facilities and features than any of our other ships and we are confident in her success.”