“If you were aware of such a massive cut in Virgin’s seat capacity, would you spend so much of the available Barbados tourism marketing budget on a heavily discounted programme?”
Was the Barbados Tourism Authority blindsided when launching the new tourist subsidy?
Sometimes timing can be everything and that has left me to question the recent launch of the Barbados Island Inclusive promotion.
On Saturday 20th April 2013, the Minister of Tourism held a local media conference to launch the initiative, which according to reports is expected to cost a staggering 11 per cent of the annual budget of the Barbados Tourism Authority. Without wanting to repeat information already in the public domain, the objective is to drive an ‘additional’ 15,000 long stay visitors this year, who are expected to spend $30 million.
The following week the Minister then traveled to the United Kingdom, where, I believe, he met with several British travel interests, including both Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Holidays. On his return, the Minister appeared on a 45 minute long CBC News Extra programme, where he was the only speaker. While TV8 clearly had a full hour available, no time whatsover was allocated to attending journalists so they could pose any questions, they may have wished to ask.
Personally, I think this was a huge mistake. It gives the impression either that there is no accountability and/or, it is not important to keep the public (and industry) fully and accurately informed.
Then just days later, something truly dramatic happened, that appears to have caught many major private sector local tourism players completely by surprise. Continue reading