- BES president predicts another downgrade for Barbados Read More
- Dominica welcoming 'voluntourism' in wake of Hurricane Maria Read More
- King giving back to Dominica with benefit match Read More
- Orange new QC swim champs Read More
- Let’s draw the line here Read More
- Consider the rape victim Read More
- Juniors shine at NIFCA Read More
IF YOU TOOK A STRAW POLL asking which is the most respected broadcasting source, I am sure that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) would be up there, probably at the top of the list. Therefore if a seasoned producer from that esteemed organization filmed and presented a professionally made short video portraying Barbados from a very unusual perspective, wouldn’t it be of interest? Apparently not, because our national marketing organization didn’t even bother to acknowledge receipt of this, and other videos submitted. I cannot recall just how many times I have heard this from various people over the years and it graphically reminds me of one of my own personal experiences. I am not going to indicate exactly the year it happened as the then CEO has moved on, hopefully to other avenues where his skills can be better exploited. Entirely on my own volition and expense, I travelled down to Brazil for a week, flying from Bridgetown to Paramaribo (Suriname), Cayenne (French Guyana) and then Belem, with SLM Airways. I met with senior executives of the airline and the long-established travel organization METS, who were both keen to grow a route between Belem and Barbados that is only 1 258 miles, or a flying time of around two-and-a-half hours. Then with their representatives in Brazil, major tour operators, travel agents and even the head of what is now Belemtur, the tourism marketing agency of Para State. At that time, even with over 20 connecting city possibilities to other Brazilian cities, a resident population of around 7.5 million people within close proximity of Belem airport, it was still critical to view it as a holistic approach to what was then deemed to be a new emerging market. We also carefully looked at the incredible agro-processing sector in North Brazil, because air-freight charges could play a vital role in the economics of the route. I wrote a detailed report based on my meetings, offering suggestions on how ”we” could possibly implement such a plan, and hand-delivered it to the Barbados Tourism Authority’s Harbour Road offices. I also discussed my findings with Brazil’s Ambassador to Barbados at the time, who expressed enormous interest. Weeks went by without any acknowledgement of the evaluation – until one evening, during one of the many cocktail parties. Also present was the BTA’s CEO/president, and I shall always remember his response when asking if he had seen my detailed observations. To this day, it frankly still shocks me: “Well, we can’t respond to everything, you know.” Even with a staff complement of over 130, I suppose he was right. But I wonder just how many other enthusiastic people with ideas and concepts they feel have merit are just left disillusioned and feel their time has been wasted. There appears to have been a notable increase in the number of visitors commenting on our tourism product and performance recently in the local Press and through the various social media sites. If “we” plan to stay in the tourism business, it is absolutely critical that we respond in a timely manner. Otherwise, even seasoned visitors may just get the impression that we do not truly value their business and move on to one of the very many other destinations on offer.