BHTA CEO concerned about visitor experience at GAIA
(File Photo) Grantley Adams International Airport.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Rudy Grant has expressed concern over the treatment being meted out to visitors to the island as they pass through the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
Grant laid bare his concerns at the BHTA quarterly General Meeting on Wednesday as he delivered the administrative review of the island’s tourism performance from the last quarter.
Touching on the positives, Grant said Barbados is on track to having another record year as long stay arrivals increased by 6.4 percent over the January to October period in 2017. Comparing the period for 2016 to 2017, numbers jumped from 501,380 to 533,296 respectively. The US market accounted for most of the arrivals with the Canada market following behind. He said the UK market continues to be flat,
Figures in the area of occupancy were also on the rise with a 1.7 percent growth and Grant revealed those numbers are expected to increase as the winter season gets into full swing. Grant said the expansion in airlift has accounted for the increase in arrivals, adding the BHTA intends to do more to grow the existing markets.
He said while the BHTA is impressed with arrival numbers they are quite concerned with the visitor facilitation occurring at the GAIA.
“There has been some improvements but we need to do better. The first experience that our visitors have when they come to Barbados is the first experience through the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA). Our ability to facilitate expansion in this very important industry requires that the visitor experience is exceptional and it also requires that we benchmark ourselves against the best globally.”
He added improvements in this area is critical to ensuring that the arrival numbers continue to improve each year.
Grant also raised another concern shared by the members of the BHTA and that was the issue of beach harassment. He said that visitors are experiencing such on our shores.
He said the Association has made progress by training hotel security guards and has also solicited the assistance of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to initiate beach patrols to monitor the situation.