The cynical me wants to shout from the rooftops that this video interview of the head of the BTA, David Rice, illustrates how many mistakes the BTA has made in the recent past.
But then I watch it and see a sincere man admitting mistakes and explaining the learning curve in new markets.
Mr. Rice goes into areas that the average Bajan doesn’t think about – for instance that air carriers demand monies and occupancy guarantees before they take on a route.
As Mr. Rice explains things, air service is the biggest challenge. We are a small market, so the air carriers demand guarantees. While I believe there is room for dramatic improvement at the BTA, Mr. Rice has given me a new perspective on the challenges that he and the BTA face.
Truth is though, I believe that our product is well past its ‘best by’ date. You know we’ve been showing 20 year old videos and photographs of certain beaches. The tourists come and say “Wuhloss! Where’s the picture perfect beach and sea? What’s with the garbage and plastic bags along the side of the road?”
You KNOW that’s what they say.
I sympathize with Mr. Rice, but I want to know: What are we doing to make our product the best it can be? As far as the Barbados Tourism Authority goes, it is all about show, not go. The BTA doesn’t concern itself with product quality: only with the best presentation of our Barbados brand.
It’s time to change our focus to quality. That is the long-term view – anything else is fooling ourselves.