Why do tourists visit Barbados?
Over half a million tourists visit Barbados every year. Many vacationers choose to go to Barbados for one or more of the following reasons:
- Natural attractions: Barbados has several beautiful beaches which are well maintained and the sea water is crystal clear. There are also features such as Blackmans Gully, Barbados Wildlife Reserve and Harrison’s Cave which have been developed for tourism. The photo below shows a tour of Harrison’s Cave in progress.
- Cultural attractions: The annual Crop Over festival attracts many visitors to Barbados. Barbados also has a rich history. Many historic sites and buildings such as Sunbury Plantation House and St. Nicholas Abbey have been preserved or restored. Visitors can visit these sites and learn about the history of Barbados.
- Sports: Tourists can engage in water sports such as surfing or windsurfing. There are land based sporting activities such as golf or tennis. Also, international cricket matches attract thousands of visitors.
- Accessibility: Barbados is easy to get to. It has an international airport with direct flights to Europe and North America. Tourists do not have to deal with the hassle of getting a connecting flight.
- Accommodation: There are may different types of hotels and other forms of accommodation to fit just about any budget or taste. There are inexpensive guest houses with bed and breakfast. There are luxury accommodations in some of the world’s best hotels. Tourists can also rent self catering apartments, cottages or elegant villas. There are also hotels for sports enthusiasts.
The Barbados Tourism Authority is responsible for selling Barbados to the world. One of their advertising campaigns features Barbados born singer Rihanna.
The Barbados Tourism Authority also promotes the island through internet advertisements and their Facebook page. Barbados is also promoted in various magazines. Some hotels market themselves directly on the internet or rely on international tour operators.
Challenges facing tourism in Barbados
- Competing Destinations: Barbados was one of the first tropical islands to develop its tourism product. Today there are many other well established tropical destinations in the Caribbean and elsewhere. It is now more difficult to make Barbados stand out when there are so many tropical islands to choose from.
- Cruise Ships: An increasing number of tourists are taking cruises instead of land based vacations. Cruise ship passengers are less valuable than those who stay on the island as they do not pay for accommodation.
- High Cost: Some destinations have lower utility costs than Barbados and can charge less for accommodation. This may make Barbados less attractive to vacationers on a tight budget.
- Traffic: Increased car ownership has led to traffic congestion which inconveniences tourists who do not expect to deal with this problem in a tropical paradise.
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