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More Duty-Free Day positives, says BCCI

Marlon Madden

More Duty-Free Day positives, says BCCI

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THE BARBADOS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (BCCI) is so pleased with the high customer turnout for its December 9 Duty-Free Day for locals in The City, it is about to put forward a proposal to have stores open late at least once a month in the new year.
BCCI president Andy Armstrong told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that based on the chamber’s assessment of Duty-Free Day, both duty-free and other stores benefited from the event – something he said the chamber hoped would happened.
The BCCI, with approval from the Ministry of Finance, staged Duty-Free Day to spur economic activity and get more human traffic in Bridgetown. It also formed part of the BCCI’s Bridgetown Alive programme.
“We were very pleased with the level of response. The public was very pleased about it, based on the crowd we saw in Bridgetown, and I am told that people were there from 6 o’clock in the morning,” said Armstrong.
He said the day yielded more positives than negatives and suggested that if such a day was to be granted again, it should apply islandwide so more stores could benefit.
“We are gathering information which we have to pass on to the Ministry of Finance and then they will study how it went and look at what revenue they may have forfeited.
“They will look at the balance of everything else and decide if it was something they could afford to do again. But the ministry will have all the data to do the analysis,” he said.
The BCCI head said the chamber was in the process of planning “regular events” for Bridgetown, which was recently named by a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to Armstrong, “We have a lot planned for next year. The ideal thing is to have a monthly event and give people a reason to come to Bridgetown on a more regular basis, not just to shop but to eat, listen to music and just enjoy the ambiance of Bridgetown.
“What we want to try and do by the monthly events that we are planning for next year is to have at least one day a month that will be for late shopping and entertainment in town, and then we can start to build on that and give the stores more confidence to open later,” he explained.
“It is a bit of a chicken and egg situation, though; it is expensive especially for the big stores to stay open later but if they could stay open late even one day per month, people are going to come to Bridgetown late and shop. So this is what we want to do.”