Barbados’ tourism sector exceeded expectations for 2017 and Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy is projecting an even better 2018 as the island re-enters the Latin American market with a new flight from Panama City coming on stream in July.
“When we look at our raw numbers, they were at record levels for cruise and long stay visitors. We were expecting about 650,000 long stay visitors, but we managed to get 660,000, so we have gone past our target in a positive way. And we expect these numbers to grow as we increase our airlift, the number of rooms and as we continue to improve our tourism product in terms of festivals and events,” Sealy said in announcing the new partnership between Barbados and Copa Airlines in Panama City.
Sealy noted that “this is an airline that we have been after for some time, and we want to thank Pedro Hubron, the CEO of Copa, for finally making this flight a reality. He is announcing the flight today and it will be loaded into the Copa system today, so Barbadians and others will be able to book flights to fly Copa direct between Barbados and Panama from as early as tonight.
“This is important because the Government is looking to diversify our source markets. We had the Gol flight out of Sao Paolo in Brazil and Avianca from Bogota in Colombia, which were suspended for different reasons, but this new arrangement with Copa will not only help us to get more business out of Panama, but also from Colombia, Brazil and the rest of Latin America, as it is a very strong player in that market.”
Copa will have two flights a week into Barbados starting from July 17.