Three years later, what has become of the restructuring at the Barbados Tourism Authority?

Bajan papers always report big talk and big promises: but never follow up…

Over three years ago Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy (photo above) announced a major restructuring of the Barbados Tourism Authority. It seemed a fine idea at the time: separate tourism marketing and product development companies.

Except: it never happened.

Time and time again we at Barbados Free Press have suggested to the island news media that if they want to improve their credibility they should only report on events that are completed. Of course, if they did that, they wouldn’t have any stories at all because half of what they print is promises and musing from politicians.

How about it, Barbados Advocate and Nation… can you go a week without printing mindless chatter, wishing and speculation from the political class?

From the March 18, 2009 edition of the Barbados Advocate (still online here):

Changes at BTA

3/18/2009

By Shawn Cumberbatch

AFTER earning a record $2.4 billion from tourism last year, Government is giving the sector an institutional shake-up in the midst of a 7.7 decline in long-stay visitor arrivals.

The Barbados Tourism Authority’s (BTA) board has been trimmed by seven and separate tourism marketing and product development companies are being created as part of a major restructuring exercise, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy announced yesterday.

BTA chairman, Ralph Taylor, and his deputy, Austin Husbands, have been retained as have Denis Roach, Alvin Jemmott, Michael Yearwood, Stephen Alleyne, and representatives from the Barbados Workers Union, Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Andrew Cox.

The new directors of the 11-member board are Dr. Kerry Hall, and Government Senator Peter Gilkes, while those not retained from the old board were Sunil Chatrani, Dr Jeannine Comma, David Jean-Marie, Adrian Loveridge, Eric Mapp, Roseanne Myers, Bernard Weatherhead, and Shelly Williams.

Speaking during at the tourism media briefing Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Sealy said the former directors had not been discarded as they had all received invitations to be part of the new tourism product development company. The existing BTA is to be eventually amalgamated into the new marketing company.

“We have adjusted the composition of the board with a view of moving forward toward the restructured arrangements for the public sector. We have not sacked or chased away or fired anyone we are merely inviting them to be part of this exercise as we go forward to have the best institutional arrangements in order to take Barbados’ tourism to the next level,” the minister said.

“The Ministry of Tourism will continue to be responsible for policy and will direct policy at that level. However, the Barbados Tourism Authority as we know it will be adjusted to the point where we will have an entity which is responsible for marketing Barbados exclusively and then another entity that will be responsible for product development. And in so doing we will have two entities that are engaged in two activities that are crucial to the long term survival of our tourism industry,” he told an audience including BTA board members, staff and hoteliers.

The big tourism changes were announced simultaneously with news that even though Caribbean Tourism Organisation statistics showed the island’s tourism revenue was some $2.4 billion in 2008, long-stay arrivals last year dropped by a slight 1.1 per cent with 566 763 visitors vacationing here and there was a 7.7 drop in arrivals so far this year.

At the same time officials are moving to haul back a decline in airlift from key markets including the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US) and Caribbean that had significantly contributed to this drop.

Sealy said year-to-date the main UK market was down 9.2 per cent, US decreased by 14 per cent down, Trinidad and CARICOM “are both down in double digits”, while arrivals from Canada had increased by 11.9 per cent, and Germany 2.1 per cent.

The minister said 2009 “will be a challenging period for tourism in Barbados”, and that officials were “projecting a fall in business no greater than what is being experienced”.

“We are expected to minimise the impact with a number of airline initiatives, and while the impact of these initiatives will take effect during the latter half of the year, these will ensure growth from 2010 and beyond. So we are preparing ourselves very much for the future,” he stated.

5 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

5 responses to “Three years later, what has become of the restructuring at the Barbados Tourism Authority?

  1. A policy holder

    Promises = BLP = DLP x 2. So what’s new!

    CLICO and BAlCO. Not even promises, bare hot air. July 1, come and gone and nothing. By comparison, and the situations are very similar, Bernie Madoff and Alan Sanford in US jails, our boys living the live of luxury in Miami and Barbados

    It is now quite apparent that neither party can rat on the other. There is and has been just too much filth swept under the carpet. HOWEVER, how much longer can this continue. I thought when I read of an untouchable having to suffer temporary closure and clean out that that was the first sign that “courage” had arrived and there might be action in the future.. Am I being naive?

    Good luck Barbados. Listening to Obama and Romney having a go at each other is astounding. R could fit right into the Bajan scene and give our boys lessons on “how to……”

  2. God

    You are being naive.
    Idealistic like how most folks are brought up to think.

    It’s not your fault.
    We were all brought up to think that the adult world was a perfect world.
    Little did we comprehend as kids, that in an effort to have us strive for that ideal
    that they brought us up to swallow it…hook,line,sinker.

    But then we mature, and realize we’ve been hoodwinked.
    No big deal, no resentment.
    Our parents brought us up ..the only way they know how-to..
    -like how their parents brought them up, in a simpler time!

    The bravest among us come to realize,too
    that even religion is a snow job, that we can do without
    as long as our basic moral compass remains correctly calibrated
    (regardless of the fact that..
    yes, it may have been churchy-religion that was responsible for said calibration).

    Go forth and enjoy the remains of your life.
    No doubt you have more years behind you
    than you see in front of you.
    Time is short.

  3. oPEN sEASON

    SPLITTING OF THE BOARD OF THE BTA IN 2009 WAS DONE FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN TO GET RID OF THE TROUBLE MAKERS AND WHOM THE MINISTER DIDN’T WANT TO OFFEND. I HOPE THEY DIDN’T WAIT TOO LONG ON THE CALL TO JOIN THE OTHER BOARD.

  4. Adrian Loveridge

    Open Season,

    I am trying to make some sort of sense out of your comments.
    Look at the 9 directors that were removed. ALL troublemakers?

    Including highly successfull business people with PROVEN experience, among them the former Resident Manager of Sandy Lane Hotel.
    Troublemakers?
    The Minister would rather listen to lawyers, electrical contractors and those with absolutely NO experience in the tourism industry?
    No wonder this industry is in such a mess and worse to come with the junk status. Try and borrow money to upgrade our ageing and non-competitive plant now!

  5. Clayborne

    The idea of separate product development and promotion divisions has merit. Why would the government promise it and never do it? why mention it at all?

    It has become that I don’t believe a word I hear from government.