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Call for new-look tourism

Gercine Carter

Call for new-look tourism

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Barbados must do something to refresh, reinvent and reinvigorate its tourism product.
This is the “daunting” message the island’s source markets are sending, Colin Jordan, president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, has disclosed.
Jordan said that although figures indicated the industry might be on the rebound and there were projections for a better performance in 2011, tourism players and the government needed to work on the markets’ recommendations. 
He added  that Barbados had lost some visitor attractions and stressed the need for collaboration between the private and public sectors to add new ones.
Jordan joined the chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), Ralph Taylor, and president David Rice yesterday at Almond Beach Club and Spa, Vauxhall,  St James, to continue their “conversations with the public” started 18 months ago.
Taylor reported visitor arrivals rose to 53 000 in January. Though this was a modest increase over last year, it was an indication of an “arrest” of the decline of 2009. 
A decline in UK arrivals continued to be a concern.
Taylor said a difficult British economy and the recently-imposed Advanced Passenger Duty (APD) were continuing to pose problems for visitor arrivals from the UK.
However, a major Barbados advertising programme launched in that market last December was anticipated to bear fruit.
He anticipated growth out of the United States this summer as a result of an increase in the number of American Airlines Flights out of Dallas, Texas.
In addition, Jet Blue Airways would be adding two  flights in July and August to accommodate Barbadians coming home for Crop Over as well as Americans wanting to holiday here at that time.
Taylor further disclosed the BTA would be launching a major promotional programme aimed at the young Canadian market.
The BTA chairman said he had asked the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association to “find some value-added”  since in all markets consumers were looking for value for money.
The BTA is also pinning its hopes on sports tourism which Rice said should boost tourism numbers in 2011, and he detailed number of upcoming sporting events.
“I think that as we continue to grow sports tourism business, and we use it in a way that increases the opportunity of exposure for Barbados, we certainly expect that within a short period of time, with the additional flights that we have from all different markets, we can certainly see tremendous growth  in that niche market.”