How Do We Invigorate Our Tourism Product?

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

I suppose you can put it down to my naivety, so long in coming, so many great expectations and then in hindsight, the reality of the situation. Almost 40 percent of the eligible electorate chose not to vote, the status quo re-elected for a second term by a precariously small majority and just microscopic adjustments made to the governance of an industry in crisis. At least, that seems to be the scenario, so far.

Clearly there are plus points. Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, appointed as a Parliamentary Secretary in the reconfigured Ministry and Tourism and International Transport, when many of us years later are still puzzled why the two bodies were ever separated in the first place. The Senator brings her abilities in marketing to the table at a time when this discipline is needed more than ever.

Shadowing the Ministry is Member of Parliamant Santia Bradshaw and while I don’t want to diminish her abundant legal qualifications, I am far from convinced we need or want any more lawyers involved in tourism policymaking. But she is also an entrepreneur and after looking at her website, I was personally impressed with the high level of presentation. Hopefully she can add value and youthful objectivity to the sector from a constructive opposition stance.

Now is the time for solutions.

A line in the sand has been indelibly etched: to re-state what many of us have been saying for months. While the global recession and the dreaded APD tax have helped stifle growth in visitor arrival numbers, they are not the sole causes of our dismal performance in tourism. Now this has been established beyond any reasonable doubt, it is time to move on and implement policies that will restore viability to the industry.

‘All the signs suggest Caribbean tourism is rallying’ and a ‘5.4 percent growth rate outpaced the rest of the world’. These comments attributed to Chairwoman of the CTO, Beverly Nicholson-Doty when referring to statistics for 2012. With Easter just over two weeks away, traditionally arrival volumes start to fall very soon after. This means we are currently facing an extended softer eight long summer months without any national marketing plan in place. What really puzzles me is that both Government and the BTA have failed to explain the fiscal challenges they are currently encountering honestly to the private sector. There has been this cloak of silence, while the public sector seems to enjoy this assumed comfort of continued employment almost at any cost.

But as we enter the shoulder season, thousands of tourism workers have genuine concern, whether they will keep their jobs or have working hours severely reduced to dramatically lower living standards for them and their families. Frankly, it has been an appalling job of public relations in keeping the private sector fully informed and ‘we’ should all learn from this.

Following the tragic events of 911, with all the then associated impending doom and gloom that threatened our number one industry, a meeting of key players in tourism was convened to brainstorm our options at that time. It was, in my opinion, one of the most productive meetings that I have attended in twenty five years. Maybe, its time again, to put the politics aside and focus exactly how we are going to kick-start what fuels our economy.

0 responses to “How Do We Invigorate Our Tourism Product?

  1. @Miller

    To be fair to the process we should wait for the Estimates document.

  2. millertheanunnaki

    @ David | March 12, 2013 at 7:42 PM |

    Agreed!
    Just a bit overly enthusiastic to assess where we are going, that’s all.

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    ‘a subvention of $101.7 million has been provided to the Barbados Tourism Authority to facilitate marketing and promotion’.

    What proportion will go to settle outstanding bills, what percentage will be spent on administration rather than marketing and promotion?

    Will more be spent on leasing/purchasing luxury SUV’s?

  4. Appears as though the government is still consistently pouring money into the marketing of tourism. What amount actually goes into marketing is a good question, how efficient are the ones who are supposed to be doing the marketing is another. Everyone should take into consideration that tourists, in this now acknowledged depression, are still looking for bang for their buck. Cuba and Dominican Republic allows you to stretch your dollar really far and are exceedingly beautiful and larger islands. Barbados remains overly expensive.

  5. millertheanunnaki

    @ Well Well | March 13, 2013 at 8:02 AM |

    You could make as much constructive criticism to this administration as you want. You can tell them that many of the problems besetting our tourism are virtually homegrown and do not require lots of money but the political will and enforcement of the laws. But you will be spitting up in the air and whistling in the wind.

    As long as this administration has the scapegoat called “International Recession” to ride like a dead horse or the local whipping boys to lash out at to like the BHTA, the BLP and even Adrian Loveridge they will continue to ignore you and the likes of islandgal to this country’s economic peril, unfortunately.

    Don’t be surprised if this country is confronted with another credit rating downgrade in the coming months reflecting a further loss of investor confidence or a write-off in this country’s ability to recover since it is continuing to kill off the tourism goose that lays the forex golden egg.

  6. Miller……………..I do see where it is becoming increasingly useless to point out REALITY for those self-serving individuals who actually care nothing about the future of the majority on the island. I am waiting to hear what their arguments will be when it becomes evident that there is no more money to pour into tourism and they can no longer use the 10 year old recession that is now a monster depression, as an excuse. I await the rating agencies downgrades. One thing that would be a constant, all the businesses and hotels now owned by the minority population will be sold to foreign investors when the time comes, so too will all government (the people) owned businesses.

  7. Georgie Porgie

    THANKS BAFFY
    VERY INTERESTING

  8. Prodigal Son

    How is the government going to bridge the 1 plus billion dollars gap between income and expenditure?

  9. Tourism cannot be business as usual. Many things have to be fixed and plenty things need to change.

  10. Adrian Loveridge

    Roverp, So much agree but almost 3 weeks since the election and everyone seems to be sleeping. Do we have a crisis in tourism or not?
    Four of our previous guests currently occupy the only two rooms that are filled in another hotel and yesterday they said it is the quietest they have seen Barbados in twenty five years. And this is the peak winter season.

  11. islandgal246

    Hmm…That is one vulgar video but it is the truth about what some Tourist come here for. What can we do about this kind of publicity? The beach bums will feel empowered after seeing something like this and will harass all female tourists. Can we teach the Bums to be more discreet and wait for the women to approach them? Sun Sand and Sex or should it be SEX sun and sand?

  12. islandgal246

    Bushie this one is for you!

  13. Who gave permission for these people to put me in that video. I seekin’ legal advice now…

  14. Nobel Soothsayer

    ‘All the signs suggest Caribbean tourism is rallying’ and a ‘5.4 percent growth rate outpaced the rest of the world’. These comments attributed to Chairwoman of the CTO, Beverly Nicholson-Doty when referring to statistics for 2012. With Easter just over two weeks away, traditionally arrival volumes start to fall very soon after.

    WELDUN MADAME CHAIRPERSON,,,, MR SEALY. ARE GOING TO SEE SOME MUCH NEEDED INFLOWS SOON? AFTER ALL

  15. islandgal246

    Baffy…..which one is you?

  16. We can see why you like that video IG.
    …the woman mad as hell ….just like you :)

  17. Islandgirl

    I is the fella on the horse …

  18. @ Baffy

    But dat rastuh got hair pun he head en you gravatar used to be bald, you like you telling lies Baffy.

    Whu u does use de Wax fuh Baffy, to wax dat bald head or de bald pooch cat?

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