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Summer gloom


Natasha Beckles

Summer gloom

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ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY in the United States, Britain and the European Union along with several local developments will make the ongoing summer tourist season a challenging one for Barbados.
And according to Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association president Colin Jordan, the “most disturbing” issue is “the spectre of possible contagion in the European Union”.
“Even though continental Europe is not in our top three source markets, there will be challenges if there is default or economic collapse.
“Germany is our largest market in Europe and they are the main country providing bailout funding. France is number two and they are also being called on to provide funding.
“The weight of possible repeated bailouts will impact those two economies,” he said.
Jordan noted that uncertainty in the United States had intensified in recent weeks with talk of a possible government default, and the British economy was still depressed.
On the local front, he said in addition to the growing cost of inputs, increased land-tax valuations, especially on South Coast properties, will negatively affect the viability of businesses.
“While our suppliers can pass on all their increases to tourism businesses, our businesses, because of the global competition we face, are unable to pass on these increases to potential customers.
“We should not forget that many hotels have had to absorb the recent increase in VAT as they were not able to pass that increase on to tour-operator partners, the main suppliers of business into Barbados,” Jordan said.
He noted that some periods during the summer, like June and mid-August to end-September, are traditionally softer than July to mid-August.
The president noted, however, that there are still “significant numbers” of people who wish to travel and are travelling to Barbados due to the Barbados Tourism Authority’s aggressive marketing.
Jordan’s comments came as major network Cheapflights Media Limited said the air passenger duty contributed to a 51.3 per cent decline in interest in Barbados.
 

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