Barbados has recorded an increase in visitors for this tourist season so far when compared with the same period last year.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, explained that while last season saw a record number of tourists coming to the island, the numbers for this year were ???up??? on that number.

He was speaking with Ambassador of Qatar to Barbados, Battal M. Al-Dosari, at his offices located in the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Complex, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.

He added that there were currently just under 6,000 beds in the hotel sector in Barbados and the influx of tourists meant that there was a need to have additional ???quality??? hotel rooms.

According to the Minister, a Hyatt and a Wyndham were being added to the hotel stock, but there was also an opportunity for Qataris to invest in such properties.

Mr. Sealy also noted that he would like to see Barbados used as a hub or stopover for airlines out of Qatar. Listing the advantages of such a proposal, he stated that Barbados had ???hub status??? and that the runway at the Grantley Adams International Airport was currently able to land almost any plane, and, after the scheduled upgrading of the tarmac, would be able to accommodate any aircraft.

The Minister also told the Ambassador that among plans to develop the industry and increase visitor spend was the expansion of duty free shopping facilities at the sea port, which would be open to all visitors to the island.

Ambassador Al-Dosari updated Mr. Sealy on plans for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in Qatar. He also discussed oil prices and explained that while Qatar was a major exporter of oil, the country was the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world.

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