Why won’t the Barbados Tourism Authority get off it’s lazy ass and welcome BTA website visitors in Portuguese?
Sorry for the subtitle language, folks. I don’t know how to express the frustration of the entire Barbados tourism industry in any clearer manner.
Hotel owners have been asking the BTA to put up welcome pages in Portuguese and Spanish for over a decade. Tourism and Industry ministers under four different governments have talked about tapping into the huge tourism potential of Brazil and some of our other Central and South American neighbours for 17 years. Barbados spends millions upon millions of dollars every year in tourism marketing and subsidies but we haven’t got what it takes to put up a few webpages to say “Come to Barbados!” in the language that our prospective customers speak.
It just boggles the mind.
“Language is one of the strongest elements of Brazil’s national unity. Portuguese is spoken by nearly 99.9 percent of the population.”
… from Wikipedia’s entry on Brazil
Pointing out the BTA’s lack of Portuguese & Spanish website for five months
BFP started focusing on this one simple issue in our September 23, 2009 article: Idiocy! Government Minister Hutson says “Look to Latinos”, but Barbados Tourism Authority failed to establish Spanish, Portuguese language websites despite 10 years of begging by hotel owners
We followed up on November 6, 2009 with this story: Six weeks later: Still no Spanish, Portuguese language welcome on Barbados Tourism or Investment & Development websites.
“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).”
… Adrian Loveridge, private sector hotel owner, “Peach & Quiet Hotel” Barbados
What is it about the BTA that makes them unable to understand the importance of language in marketing?
The Barbados Tourism Authority should have established a Portuguese-language welcome page at the BTA website a decade ago. It’s a basic requirement for entering any tourism market: you have to be able to speak to your target audience. If you’re not willing to do that you are just pretending.
In the case of the BTA, they can do things ass-backwards because they’re playing with the never-ending buckets of our tax dollars and don’t have to show any measurable results. The BTA can make so many basic errors and nobody seems to call them on it.
This is just so stupid.
Our government went to the trouble and expense of lobbying for and facilitating scheduled flights between Brazil and Barbados, but can’t spend what amounts to rum-money to hire a translator to provide some basic information on the BTA website in Portuguese. We’re not even talking about hiring a Brazilian call center to answer questions by prospective tourists – but that’s pretty basic too.
Is there something I’m missing here? PLEASE tell me I’m wrong or crazy or something. Tell me I don’t understand tourism marketing. Explain to me why I should believe that our BTA people are doing the right things at the right time and they are not a bunch of idiots who are unable to make such a simple and low-cost, yet vital, addition to the BTA website.