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Global brands ‘a good sign’

Stacey Russell

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THE BARBADOS CHAMBER of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) believes that the arrival of more international fast food and hotel brands in Barbados is a sign of international investor confidence in the economy, despite the current economic downturn.Regarding the awaited opening of Subway, the scheduled year-end opening of the Marriott Courtyard and potential entry of United States fast food chain Wendy’s to the local market, BCCI acting vice-president Lalu Vaswani told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY on Friday: “It is a very positive development that helps to identify us in the international market.”He said these international business names would help to promote Barbados’ tourism, promote foreign direct investment, create jobs and boost foreign exchange earnings.“It will also help us to improve our attention to quality customer service because of increased competition, and give consumers better value. It is a symbol of confidence in our investment climate at this time,” Vaswani, who is the substantive senior vice-president of BCCI, said.On Friday, the Courtyard by Marriott Bridgetown being constructed adjacent to TGI Fridays in Hastings, Christ Church, published job vacancies in the Press for a human resources coordinator and a controller, following Marriott Barbados’ executive Kim Schmehling’s indication in February this year that the hotel should be completed by year-end.The first Subway outlet is due to open anytime at the new Lanterns Mall, also in Hastings, and Caribbean and international media houses last week indicated that Wendy’s was planning to extend its chain to Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia, St Maarten, St Vincent and Suriname in the near future.In backing Vaswani, BCCI executive director Lisa Gale said, in a separate interview also on Friday, “Franchising is always a good thing. It gives other options besides the ones that we already have.“The business community is at a stage where we know that we are living in a global village and we are not at the stage where we want to keep out people to protect our own market.”