Tourism record on the cards
Barbados is on the verge of a record year for tourist arrivals, according to Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy.
Addressing workers from the sector at a Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association-sponsored reception to wind up Hotel and Restaurant Workers’ Week on Thursday night, Sealy said July had seen a record number of over 58 000 arrivals, making it the strongest month so far for the year.
With arrivals for the first week of August being already 20 per cent higher than last year , Sealy believed this would also be a record month.
The Ilaro Court reception at which over 200 from the hotel and restaurant sector were hosted, is held annually to recognise the contribution of the foot soldiers in the tourism industry.
“We have to see Hotel Workers Week as being symbolic of a national effort to grow tourism, to develop people and to make the nation proud of the work we have been doing over the many years,” Sealy said.
He added, however, that despite the tremendous gains “one swallow does not make a summer” and he pledged government’s support for hotel/union negotiations currently in progress, expressing the hope that they would be congenial.
The matter of congeniality in negotiations was echoed by General Secretary of the Barbados workers’ Union Sir Roy Trotman who told the workers and hoteliers: “We with the trade union movement will wish to cooperate with the hotel industry; we wish to redouble our efforts in the clear understanding that Barbados cannot afford divisiveness at this time.
“We must have our differences and we must be able to wear those differences in a manner that conduce to the overall upliftment of all the people in our country.”
The trade union boss described the hotel worker as the “gem” who by commitment, hard work and by a vision that said the tourism industry must not be left to the employers, could assist government in making sure the tourism product became stronger and better with each passing year.
Specifically addressing hoteliers attending the function, Sir Roy assured them:“for all of you who try to help us in our efforts to help the country grow strong, we want to give a commitment that while from time to time we may have to fight with the employers, we do not fight in a wish to destroy the industry, or to undermine, cause pain or suffering to anyone in the industry.”
“We fight because your interests as managers are good interests. You want to build the tourism industry and we fight because we also have interests and focus and from time to time those interests and those focuses do not exactly mesh.” (GC)