New tourism strategy
Barbados will be rolling out a more sophisticated and targeted tourism marketing strategy in its main source markets.
According to Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr DeLisle Worrell, this is just one of the measures being put in place to turn around the critical sector.
He explained that markets like Britain, Canada and the United States of America would be broken down into specific regions in order to measure and target those areas that were growing fastest and where Barbados was performing best.
“We want to supplement that by looking at actual per capita incomes so that we can again begin to target the wealthiest areas,” he said.
Worrell said this strategy was an attempt to “insulate” the island from the “general tendencies” in its source markets.
The Governor was at the time making a presentation to credit union members on The Barbados Economy: Challenges And Opportunities at the Central Bank. The event was hosted by the Barbados Cooperative and Credit Union League.
He noted that one of the strengths of Barbados’ tourism industry was its diversified markets.
“We do get most of our tourists from the UK – over 30 per cent – but we have a diversified base in terms of Canada, in terms of the United States, in terms of the rest of the Caribbean and we are expanding,” he said.
Worrell noted that Barbados’ share of the regional tourism market had fluctuated over the years.
“Ever since 2008 we have been . . . losing market share but we have been at a lower point in terms of our competitiveness within the Caribbean than we are now.
“We have to put things in perspective. We have a problem, but tourism is not about to collapse,” he stressed.
He noted that one of the challenges related to airlift.
“This one is a bit more difficult because, as you know, airlines are very competitive and the airline industry is going through a lot of challenges and changes.
“We have tried to address this to some extent . . . through fiscal measures and Government support. I think we will have to continue to do that. That in the short run is how we will need to try to turn around this downtrend in airlift from all our source markets,” he said.
Worrell also said more money was being dedicated to marketing and small and medium-sized hotels and ancillary services would be assisted with financing for upgrades.
He said it was expected that foreign direct investment would be attracted for the larger properties.
“It is the smaller properties where we have been unable to put together appropriate financing packages to support the kind of upgrades that are necessary,” he said. (NB)