Nation e-Edition

Mia: Fix UK market

Sun, July 18, 2010 - 12:00 AM

OPPOSITION LEADER Mia Mottley thinks that if tourism is to rebound, Barbados has to be more creative in relation to the British market and improve its image in the Caribbean.

Speaking at a Press conference on Thursday in reviewing this country’s economic standing for the first six months of the year, Mottley said there was much work for the Ministry of Tourism to do to revive the sector.

“You cannot continue to hope that tourism will rebound on the basis of the development of new markets that may do and should do well for us in the medium-term, like Brazil and China, but cannot provide the kind of difference in dollars spent immediately because the marketing effort and the maturity of the market is not yet there to do it.

“The truth is, we need to fix the United Kingdom market as a matter of urgency. We need to be more creative there. We need to continue to be more creative in the United States and Canada and we need to be more creative in respect of CARICOM,” she said.

Mottley said one should not be confused between tourism arrivals and tourism growth.

“Tourism arrivals are up by 2.7 per cent but tourism expenditure is down.”

On Wednesday, in response to the media at the Central Bank Governor’s question and answer session, she admitted that tourism sector revenue is down largely because the British market, which accounts for almost 40 per cent of our arrivals, is down.

“[British] tourists usually spend longer and hence, spend more money and if they are down, no increase from the United States and Canada to the extent that we have seen in the first six months can offset the reduction in dollar spend by the average tourist.”

Mottley said sugar was down by 20 per cent, manufacturing down by 7.7 per cent and international business registrations down by half.

“By every easurement, each of your productive sectors is literally on the back foot and these are the sectors that earn foreign exchange for the Barbados economy.”

    Mottley said the country faces declining reserves being buttressed only by borrowings but not by performance of the individual productive sectors.

“If ever there was a time for the Government to act and to act urgently, it is now.” (MK)

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