Even though it has not become widespread public knowledge, September 2013 became the 18th consecutive month of long stay visitor decline and recorded the lowest stay-over arrivals of any month in the last 11 years.
As someone who has invested their life savings and 25 years in the Barbados tourism industry, it give me no pleasure to state this unpleasant fact, but someone has to say it. If only in the interests of survival.
The time for remedial action has long since passed.
“Once again, it is now a case of damage limitation and focusing on what the private sector can do for itself, to avoid annihilation of the industry as we know it.”
This may at first appear dramatic, but you only have to look around at other businesses on the island to understand that a sector that has been financially drained for a year and a half cannot be immune from the same challenges others are facing.
Not that our policymakers are listening, but I am going to make a few suggestions…
1) Establish a National Marketing Committee (NMC) in the shortest practical time, comprising of proven professionals with a rotating Chairman, chosen irrespective of any political party leanings.
The existing Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) board would cease to play any functional part in promoting the destination, or simply be disbanded, based on non-performance.
2) Place the opposition spokesperson on tourism (regardless of which party is in power) on this committee, to ensure there is true non-partisan participation in decision making and understanding of the current problems. Continue reading