Those leaders who can… do. The rest of the politicians and tourism officials talk, talk, talk and then do nothing.
Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson gave a press conference last Sunday where he mused about the possibilities of targeting South American markets to fill the tourism void during the “off” season – and to try to raise some new business opportunities.
All of this makes sense, although with the emphasis on Spanish in the articles it seems that neither the Minister nor the professional journalists at the Barbados Advocate realise that the language spoken by the majority of South Americans is Portuguese. Spanish is also huge in South America and is, of course, the language of Central America – but if we’re serious about South America we must target Portuguese as well as Spanish.
Oh well, not to get upset about it because the truth is that nothing will be done.
The Minister spoke a fine little speech, and the newspaper printed a fine little article and editorial.
That’s it, folks. That’s all you’ll see. This is Barbados and we do – or don’t do – things a certain way.
The current DLP government has been in power for 20 months now, coming up on two years.
If the government and the Minister were serious about South America, they would already have ordered Spanish and Portuguese language options on the websites of the Barbados Tourism Authority and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.
That makes sense, doesn’t it? If the government or the Minister really cared about the South American market, they would have taken a week and put up Spanish and Portuguese sections on the government websites.
People who take vacations have money, and the web is a huge resource in deciding where to go. If you want to attract tourists or investors from a certain market or region the first thing is to put up a website in the language of your potential customer. Pretty basic stuff. I mean, you could probably hire some drunken paro to consult for the Barbados Tourism Authority and even he’d know that if you want to attract Portuguese tourists you should put up a website in Portuguese.
Any idiot knows that, but apparently the folks at the Barbados Tourism Authority and Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (or whatever it’s called this week) are either too lazy, too stupid or just don’t care enough to provide foreign language capabilities on their websites.
It would only take one person a few days, perhaps a week…
There’s nothing to it. The BTA and BIDC already have the websites developed with English content, so they have all the hard programming done. All it would take would be translated content – maybe a couple of days work if that for a competent translator – and both the BTA and the BIDC would have Spanish and Portuguese websites up and going.
Nothing to it technically. All it takes is somebody who gives a damn enough to give the order and make it happen. Tough to find such a person in politics or government service, I guess.
Tourism business owners like Adrian Loveridge have regularly suggested Portuguese and Spanish websites to the government and the Barbados Tourism Authority for over a decade and Minister Hutson is only the latest politician to hold a press conference proclaiming that targeting South American tourists is a great idea.
Today is September 23, 2009. Technically it would take about a week to put up Spanish and Portuguese language websites at the BTA and the BDIC. We’ll check back in a month and see if Minister Hutson was just talking shite after church on Sunday or if he is capable of producing an actual result.
The following comment was left on Barbados Free Press a few days ago by Adrian Loveridge…
Hundreds of thousands of people in South America speak English. I was in Argentina less than a year ago and there is growing number of highly educated people who want and have the financial means to travel. Some already do, to play Polo on Barbados.
But ‘we’ must PREPARE.
Its now over ten years since I pleaded with the BTA to place a Spanish and Portuguese language version on the national website, so at least some of those 400 million plus potential travelers could do the prior research or planning. Look on YouTube and you will see a Spanish version of a television ‘ad’ prepared for the BTA. Of course it was almost a waste of time and money because it contained no-call-to action (telephone number or website address).
I am am NOT advocating an instant new route like we did in the past with BWIA and Brazil, but a plan that includes ALL the options like smart partnerships, freight, agro processing, niche markets etc. Government is looking at trying to reduce the cost of living on Barbados. If you have ever been to Northern Brazil and seen their development of food processing, this may be part of the answer to both reducing the cost of food for families and the hospitality industry. US$2 per kilo in freight charges could easily offset the start-up cost of a passenger service.