“If a sufficient proportion of the board is devoid of hands-on experience in marketing a product like a destination, how can it possibly judge if the persons actually managing the entity are doing a good job?”
If the media reporting on the recently selected board members of the newly formed Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc is accurate then I have to express enormous surprise at the apparent absence of a senior impartial member of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.
It is almost inconceivable that you could not include someone who has a vested financial interest in the sector with proven experience and that would contribute to how the island is marketed. To me it raises the question of what is the purpose of the board.
Is it there to ensure due diligence, accountability and to ensure monies are spent in the most cost effective and productive way or is it simply for political window dressing?
If a sufficient proportion of the board is devoid of hands-on experience in marketing a product like a destination, how can it possibly judge if the persons actually managing the entity are doing a good job?
Looking at some of the other tourism boards across the region ‘we’ appear to be moving away from the model that other holiday competitors are using successfully to generate increased visitor arrivals and spend.
There are also several other issues. Surely this is a time when all vested interests should be working closely together to maximise results. According to recent media reports and documents contained on the website of the Inter-American Development Bank a loan of US$20 million (BA-L1033) is being negotiated with Government for the stated ‘objective to promote tourism, trade and investment between Barbados and Latin America’. I could find no mention of a repayment period or interest rate. Perhaps this will be revealed to the taxpayer in the due course of time… or not.
As Latin America currently supplies a tiny fraction of our overall number of long stay visitors, one wonders where the promotional funds will be sourced for our four highest performing markets, the UK, USA, Caribbean and Canada.
I urge all those in tourism to carefully read the IADB Project Document proposal for this loan. Conclusions reached included a ‘resulting decline of arrivals and receipts from key markets over the period 2007 to 2012 both cruisers and stay over arrivals declined 16 per cent and 6.3 per cent respectively, while tourism receipts dropped 24 per cent and its (Barbados) market share in the American region was reduced 21.4 per cent for expenditure and 17.4 per cent for international stay over visitors.
Bearing in mind these sobering facts, again it is difficult to understand the logic behind not pooling every available resource, both in terms of finance and expertise.
Without a non-aligned BHTA presence on the BTMI board, what is going to become of the Tourism Fund, launched by former President Wayne Capaldi in 2003?
I understand the voluntary contributions raised by this fund have helped co-promote many initiatives that were derived from BHTA/BTA collaborate efforts.
We have an incredible opportunity to change the way we do business in tourism with the formation of the BTMI.
Let everyone of us who have a passion in the industry hope that this fortuity will not be squandered by a lack of vision and the very best use of all available talent.
Following last week’s column about the possible future of Fairmont Royal Pavilion, the Toronto based group’s Director of Public Relation’s Mike Taylor was kind enough to arrange a meeting with the new acting General Manager, Tim Morrison. More about their plans soon!