Tourism MATTERS: Fail to plan… Plan to fail
by Adrian Loveridge - small hotel owner
Tourism MATTERS #62
In May this year an announcement was made that plans were underway by the Barbados Tourism Authority to commence a planning process to analyse and define the Barbados destination brand.
According to a media release, the Chairman was ‘particularly concerned that the study evaluates the relevance and strength of the brand for both Barbadians and visitors’.
He stated ‘once we get the information, it may tell us that the brand is fine; but it may also tell us that we have work to do, and I think we can all agree that this is probably going to be the outcome. We will then harmonise that work into creating a strategy for rolling out our new brand promise into the markets’.
Of course, it makes absolute sense, but six months later, how closer are we to this objective?
Simon Anholt wrote in his excellent essay entitled ‘ ‘Why National Image Matters’:
Why National Image Matters
‘Today, every country, city and region on earth must compete with every other for its share of the world’s commercial, political, social and cultural transactions in what is virtually a single market. As in any busy marketplace, brand image becomes critical: almost nobody has the time, the patience or the expertise to understand the real differences between the offerings of one country or another, and so people fall back on their fundamental beliefs and prejudices about those countries to help them make their decisions. Just as in the commercial marketplace that ‘brand image’ provides a short cut to an informed buying decision’.
Where is the Barbados tourism master plan?
Under a previous Chairman, a white paper tourism master plan was promised and a staggering four years later the industry still awaits, leaving many to contemplate if it can really be considered our number one foreign currency earner?
While we have drifted, some may say, bumbled, along without any coherent national policy for decades without a master plan, branding and the protection of a destination brand is something altogether different, requiring a much higher priority and need for integrity protection.
Negative perceptions of proposed tourism developments
What prompted this week’s column discussion is seeing the vast quantities of negative material appearing on blogsites relating to various proposed tourism developments on the island.
Many of the detrimental comments refer to planning consent, the granting of concessions and the economic viability or creditability of either the project and/or the developer.
One of the grey areas seems to be what is legally permissible here in Barbados and whether or not the same laws apply to would-be ‘investors’ in other countries.
Clearly, any ongoing uncertainty and ill-informed speculation has the potential to damage what many competitors consider our enviable holiday brand status.
Is it not time to draft and implement legislation that leaves no-one in any doubt, whether that person is an investor considering purchasing property or a company submitting plans and undertaking proposed construction tourism projects?
This in my humble opinion is an almost prerequisite to any meaningful tourism master plan, if we are going to maintain and enhance our solid reputation as a transparent and quality destination choice.
This article was printed as received with the exception of the following:
BFP added the titles: “Where is the Barbados tourism master plan?”, “Tourism MATTERS: Fail to plan… Plan to fail”, “Why National Image Matters”, “Where is the Barbados tourism master plan?”, “Negative perceptions of proposed tourism developments”. BFP also made formatting and paragraph break changes and corrected a few speelling errrorz. 🙂