How tough is the tourism market right now? This tough…
“As nearly 2 million British delayed their vacation due to the economic crisis, leading British tourism agencies, including Thomas Cook, created new holiday packages that cost less than 2 pounds per night on Turkish shores, the agencies announced on their official websites on Monday.”
This cannot last. It is totally unsustainable – but will it take a bite out of our numbers for the next few months? I don’t know and I’d wager that the folks at the Barbados Tourism Authority don’t know much more than I do about this.
Hurriyet Daily News: UK agencies offering almost free holidays
UPDATED: April 23, 2012
With all the talk of hotels failing and our tourism industry on the ropes, we revisit this article by BFP reader West Side Davie. If not tourism as our mainstay of economic health, then what?
by West Side Davie
The recent budget speech and the acknowledgement that our tourism mainstay is feeling the impact of the global financial troubles has again produced calls for the diversification of our economy. “Diversification” sounds so reasonable when talked about in general, but when you ask people for some suggestions their reply usually includes two standbys: “manufacturing” and “something other than tourism”.
Something “other than tourism”
Barbados has tried a few “other things” that haven’t worked out – including the fairly recent failed efforts to make our island the call center capital of the world and the “stem cell research” capital of the world. In the end we always seem to fall back on tourism, rum, financial services and the dangling hope that sugar will “rise again”. Nobody talks much about the fact that most of our rum is produced with imported molasses and most of our sugar industry field labour is imported as well.
Regardless of the assurances on the Invest Barbados website that we are an ideal secondary manufacturing location, it is acknowledged that Barbadian manufacturers must compete with those from other regional and world economies, whose wage costs and other overheads are usually much lower. Then there is that low-productivity problem that various Bajan governments and Ministers have attempted to address in the last 20 years – but I for one haven’t seen positive changes on a scale worth talking about.
Truthfully when it comes to manufacturing, nothing has been the same since Intel shut down its Barbados facility in 1986 and moved the majority of its North American and Caribbean operations to Asia. It is that Asian competition from China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea and lately Vietnam that convinces me that we must not allow ourselves to develop false hopes about the possibility of a rebirth of manufacturing in Barbados.
The lesson from Royal Enfield Motorcycles
A friend sent me the above YouTube video of a decorative painter at India’s Royal Enfield Motorcycles. Watch and you’ll see an amazing performance by a Royal Enfield employee – BUT – if you replay the video a couple of times and look at the facility, the product and the employees in the background, you might come to the same conclusion that I did… Continue reading