Barbados’ tourism minister is hopeful an increase in airlift will cement the island’s reputation as a “must-see” destination for UK travellers.
Speaking at a trade event in London to mark the launch of World Travel Market 2023, Ian Gooding-Edghill hailed the “crucial” partnerships the island has with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which are both raising their capacity to the island in 2024.
He revealed BA will fly Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners from Heathrow to Barbados for summer 2024, increasing the airline’s capacity by about 10% – an announcement that was met with applause by attendees.
Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic is boosting its airlift to the island from Manchester, having increased the service from four to five times a week from November 4.
The airline has also announced that between January 10 and March 29, three flights per week will be added to the untagged Heathrow to Barbados schedule.
Virgin Atlantic is also deploying an Airbus A330neo aircraft from Heathrow to Barbados every Saturday through the winter season, commencing November 25.
“This increase in airlift exemplifies the demand for the Barbados as a must-see destination and solidifies the island as a regional hub for the eastern Caribbean,” said Gooding-Edghill.
“I would like to emphasise the value of the partnerships we have with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. One of our pillars of success has been these exceptional partnerships we’ve cultivated with them.”
Gooding-Edghill also shared his optimism for the upcoming winter cruise season, which he said is shaping up to be a “promising one”.
The destination is projecting 392 cruise calls with an estimated 715,000 passengers, up from 358 calls and about 608,000 passengers last year.
“We are anticipating that our overall cruise passengers in the winter season will be equal to our best year in 2018/2019,” he said.
“The success of this cruise season will contribute to the overall growth and resilience of our tourism industry.”