by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | October 28, 2015
Barbados' hotel pipeline is robust, representing an investment of more than US$1 billion. Some 2,300 rooms will debut over the next five years, according to Caribbean News Now. The details were revealed by the CEO of Barbados Tourism Marketing, William Griffith, during a media briefing at the Caribbean Tourism Organization's State of the Industry Conference on the Dutch island of Curaçao this week.

Griffith stated that the investment started with the all-inclusive Sandals Barbados, which is scheduled to add some 220 rooms in 2016. Later this year, Sugar Bay Hotel (formerly Amaryllis) and The Sands (formerly Sandy Beach) will open their doors as all-inclusive products, adding 300 new rooms. The island will welcome two established global hotel brands by 2018 in the form of the 450-room Wyndham Hotel project at the site of the iconic Sam Lord's Castle, which has been shuttered for years, and the Hyatt Hotel in historic Bridgetown. There is no word yet on how many rooms or how much meeting space the new Hyatt will have.

In addition, 24 hotels on the island have undergone significant refurbishments in time for the 2016 winter season. Griffith  pointed out that Barbados has also made significant strides in both its long-stay and cruise arrivals. He noted that some 432,713 long-stay visitors were recorded at the end of September, year-to-date, an increase of 14.5 percent over the same period in 2014.

Griffiths then went on to reveal that the BTM, along with its sister agency the Barbados Tourism Product Authority, was gearing up to implement a number of new initiatives aiming to increase the island's visibility as a destination for both the leisure and business traveler. "We've just completed a brand positioning exercise wherein all of our future marketing campaigns will capitalize on our reputation as a safe, engaging and culturally rich destination - all of the ingredients sought by the contemporary traveler," he said. "In 2016, Barbados will be a hub for visitors, as we will raise the standard of every event in line with our golden celebrations to mark our 50th year of Independence."