Empty seats a dangerous sign in High Season
Having sat on the board of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association briefly, you get some idea of what a complex and challenging task it is for any Executive Vice President and the juggling act he or she has to perform on a daily basis.
Keeping everybody happy is, in my view, a near impossible task. On reflection I believe the BHTA and its members have been extremely lucky, with very few exceptions, to have attracted the calibre of people who have held the position of EVP.
When Sue Springer was recently interviewed by one of the other media outlets, you could sense the passion and genuine unease in her quoted words. Even the journalist prefixed her title with ‘frustrated’. I don’t believe that anyone should view her comments as alarmist, as she is reflecting the obvious concerns of the members.
The article was headed “Layoffs looming” and pointed out that “the sector may have to brace for problems if the current state of the industry did not improve this summer”.
Why are many of our neighbours bettering us in tourism?
Ms. “Springer warned that the first quarter of this year was already looking bleak” and this was clearly illustrated in the 8.2 per cent fall in long stay visitors in the peak month of January. Recently one of our returning guests to the UK reported that the ten rows of seats behind them were all empty and that one flight arrived with 24 people in economy. As loyal regulars to Barbados, I have no reason to doubt them.
‘We’ cannot go on thinking that this is a global problem affecting all our competitors. As already pointed out in last week’s column, almost all the rest of the Caribbean recorded strong growth last year.
The new administration has a very small majority and surely I cannot be alone in thinking that all the elected officials can pull together in the national interest. By the time this column goes to press, I would expect that a new cabinet is in position and we can only hope that the best qualified persons are placed in the positions where they can make a positive difference. Continue reading