According to the Central Bank of Barbados, the island’s tourism output slowed in 2018 to an estimated 0.6% despite there being a 2.8% increase in visitor arrivals last year. The reasons given were that visitors were spending less, some were not staying as long, and cruise ship calls had declined.

The report gave rise to a comment by the President of the Barbados Economic Society, Simon Naitram, that if tourism is to be a viable source of broad-based economic growth, then the industry needs to evolve. The figures, he said, were an early warning about the structure of the tourism industry and the need for “innovation, investment, and broad social engagement.”

Mr Naitram’s remarks and Barbados’ Central Bank figures ought to give pause for thought across the region about the structure of an industry which governments measure by arrival numbers rather than the overall value of the sales of goods and services it generates…..

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