The abolition of the physical Embarkation Disembarkation (ED) card in favour of the automated tracking of visitor arrivals resulted in the understatement of long-stay tourist arrivals since end-2019. In 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 alone, the country undercounted arrivals by more than 8,000 per month. These revised estimates mean that tourism activity grew by 238.1 percent in 2022, in contrast to the 180.3 percent reported before the revision exercise.
The manual confirmation process of online ED card arrivals caused the problem. Local regulatory and statistical agencies have therefore collaborated to reconcile the arrivals for 2022 and 2023 and to come up with a sound tracking process. They cleansed the data and consolidated the kiosk and ED online system files into a single file for use by all key stakeholders.
Impact of Reconciliation Process on Real and Nominal GDP
|Annual Real GDP|
|Annual Nominal GDP|
The statistical and regulatory agencies have agreed to integrate the kiosks and the online travel form to create a single data set for everyone to use. Once integrated, authorities will validate all passenger arrivals through the kiosk system, and they will use a single processing system to determine visitor arrival statistics to eliminate variances across agencies.
Software development for the kiosks and Border Management System integration is in progress and should be completed before the start of the upcoming winter season.
 Barbados Statistical Service, Barbados Tourism Marketing Incorporated, Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Barbados Immigration Department, and Central Bank of Barbados.