The Barbados tourism board has revealed a new strategy to focus on trade relations in the north of England, Scotland and Ireland in a bid to unlock the full potential of the UK market.

It comes as the tourism board confirmed a new direct flight from the UK would start in the first quarter of 2020, although the official announcement is yet to come from the airline.

Kerrie Symmonds, Barbados minister of tourism and international transport, said: “I came to WTM with a target in mind: to get our operators to commit to working with us on doing more business out of the north of England, Scotland and Ireland.

“We held a roadshow in September in Scotland and Ireland, and we’re now following up on that with tour operators, to help them work with us as we attract more business from that part of the country.

“Barbados has done exceptionally well in the south of England. We realise there’s a lot of natural traffic [from] across the UK but we have never pursued it to maximise the potential.”

The tourism board confirmed it would host further roadshows and fam trips targeting these regions, particularly promoting its cruise product, and encourage agents to sign up for its Barbados Elite Club training and rewards programme, which had a ‘soft launch’ in spring and is now being fully rolled out to the UK trade.

Symmonds added: “The WTM experience for Barbados has been really productive and we are just about ready to announce a brand-new flight to the island going in the second quarter of next year.”

Details of the new flight were due to be revealed later this week.

The tourism board also announced a search for a new airport operator and fresh investment, to begin next week at the Global Airports Conference in Dublin, with a target of doubling the airport size within the next three years.

There will also be efforts to attract the Barbadian diaspora back to the island with a global campaign, WeGatherin’, which includes a number of cultural, sports and food-related events.