Six weeks later: Still no Spanish, Portuguese language welcome on Barbados Tourism or Investment & Development websites.


MP Stephen Lashley wants to make BTA overcome 'island time' performance.

Last week the government member for Christ Church West Central, Stephen Lashley, stood up in Parliament and talked about the need for Barbados to tap into new international markets for tourism and industry. As tactfully as possible (considering he is a member of the government), Mr. Lashley made the point that our Barbados Tourism Authority and Barbados Investment and Development Corporation aren’t doing nearly the job that they should be doing.

To be fair, Lashley talked about “encouraging” the BTA and BIDC and being positive about their efforts. He also chided the Opposition for being “negative” as he delivered the traditional Bajan milquetoast speech about “what we’re gonna do” etc etc etc. His central message for those listening at the BTA and BIDC came through though: “FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST BLOODY-WELL DO SOMETHING!”

Good luck with your encouragement, Mr. Lashley. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for results.

Let’s get real for a minute, shall we?

Over six weeks ago, Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson gave a press conference 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.

At that time Barbados Free Press said that 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. We said it would take a week, maybe two, to translate both websites, put up a welcome in Spanish and Portuguese and at least look like we mean business.

We also predicted that it wouldn’t happen. We said…

“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.”

We were correct. Here we are six weeks later and nothing was done. The BTA and BIDC websites are still in English only.

See? We told ya that nothing would be done!

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge: Hotel owners have been asking for Spanish/Portuguese BTA website for 10 years!

After all, the Barbados Tourism Authority failed to establish Spanish, Portuguese language websites despite 10 years of begging by hotel owners.

Why should anything change now?

Please have a read of our original story and we’ll see you again in another six weeks and every six weeks thereafter until all those concerned become embarrassed enough to make it happen – if such a thing is possible in the cushy government service. I tell you the truth friends – very few in the BTA or BIDC would last a week in a similar position in London or New York.

Barbados Tourism Authority failed to establish Spanish, Portuguese language websites despite 10 years of begging by hotel owners


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

9 responses to “Six weeks later: Still no Spanish, Portuguese language welcome on Barbados Tourism or Investment & Development websites.

  1. reality check

    Our whole infrastructure and culture is not prepared to promote initiative and risk taking but rather “turf” protection without accountability.

    The old adage of crabs pulling each other back into the barrel is too close to the truth.

    Instead of promoting and pushing each other out of the barrel, as many successful international Bajans have proven we are capable of, we still have a system that destroys the spirit and initiative of those at home who have proven themselves and excelled only to be crushed by political bosses whose only mantra is control with no comprehension of the word accountability.

    There are a whole host of people that could have changed the web page within a week inserting several languages but who would take the initiative and risk only to be shot down by a bunch of committee members asking for a paralytic process to be followed and their rings to be kissed?

    There can be no reform of the political system from the top without serious reform of the bureaucracy at the same time.

    This needs to be built into ITAL and FOI which the present government in power has avoided like the plague despite promises to the contrary.

  2. Bajeabroad

    What you really expect from this visionless government and opposition (when they were in government, they were just as visionless!!!)….Imagine we have a man pioneering work with solar vehicles etc…..TnT wants them for the summit…and no backing from the govt of the day….no vision about using barbados as a model for alternative energy use and penetration worldwide….instead we want to give a gas-guzzling electricity generation plant more $$$ to use outdated technology……you really feel any of these jokers can get my X again…….bunch of real visionless windbags…the whole lot o dem!!!

  3. Red Lake Lassie

    This is what I hate about the Caribbean. Nobody will get off their asses and make a simple decision to do something soooooo simple.

    This is not rocket science. It doesn’t need a frikin committee.

    Are the BTA people reading this?

    Let me outline the steps that should be taken by the head of the BTA:

    a: Instruct person in charge of BTA website to have a test section up and running in Spanish in two weeks using the instructions contained in this comment.

    b: Schedule a meeting with the employee in two weeks to see the website.

    c: Attend the meeting in two weeks. If the employee cannot show you a functioning Spanish section, fire their ass.

    Here are the instructions for the BTA website employee on how to translate the BTA website into spanish:

    a: Open phone book.
    b: Look under “translators”. If that doesn’t fly, look under “translations”. If you can’t find it, try the web at Yahoo. Here is a large company with offices all over the USA. They can do everything by email. They don’t have to meet, you just write them and tell them to do the translation. They will.

    c: Take the translation and have your web guy drop the content into the same HTML code he already has, but in a parallel website at your BTA domain.

    d: Hire a second translation company to translate the Spanish into English. That way you can see if the first translation company did a good job.

    e: Go to meeting with BTA boss. Show the boss. Put the website live and put a link in the top of the BTA website.

    f: Repeat all above for other languages.

    I feel like someone from London or Vancouver or
    Chicago or Tokyo should come to Barbados and show the people at the BTA how to make coffee, chew gum, wipe their own butts. Things like that. Because the BTA people don’t sound like they are very competent.

    ire a translator.

  4. clearly bajan

    Good commentary Lassie.

    Sometimes I too am left pondering why these things are made to look so complex.

    How many politicians in Barbados have ever been bi-lingual?

    Isn`t it amazing when u travel that Barbadians are so content and proud to speak English SO WELL and we have sat on that and never considered adding another language to it.

    Its the complacency of our way of life… unfortunately.

  5. Having a website translated into Spanish isn’t that easy, not because the technical process of doing it is difficult but because the cost and complexity of keeping it up to date can make it a challenge. It’s not impossible given the will. There are many translation services out there such as , which I use, that would take on the challenge.

    The real issue I see goes beyond the website. How do you handle customer support by email and phone? Does the tourism infrastructure such as signage, hospitality industry bilingualism, airline flights, and foods for Latino tourists meet their needs? It is not just the politicians that need to change.

  6. BFP

    Hey Peter,

    Ya, you’re right. Just can’t be done. Certainly not in the two years the present government has been in power.

    I guess we need a committee to decide if we need a committee to decide who to hire to consult on whether or not we need a committee to hire someone to consult on doing the translation.

    Yup, translating a website into Spanish just can’t be done by our government.

    You’re right!

  7. Hants

    BFP why don’t you make a proposal (en espanol por favor) to the Government and the BTA.

    You could hire the web gurus and make some “guvmunt money”.

    Didn’t one uh wuhna live in Cuba?

    Entreprenurial spirit BFP?

    Help your country and make some money in the process.

  8. Green Monkey

    I thought the Community College had a well established foreign language centre. Is there no one in that institution sufficiently fluent in Spanish to tackle that translation? No foreign exchange expenditure would be required.

  9. Pingback: Big excitement in Barbados over direct Brazil flights – but still no Portuguese language on Barbados Tourism Authority website after ten years « Barbados Free Press