More luxury offerings needed
BARBADOS NEEDS MORE LUXURY OFFERINGS if it is to truly cash in on the rebounding tourism industry.
Royal Westmoreland director of sales Kim Goddard said an increasing number of visitors “are looking for these luxury experiences in Barbados” and the island needed to respond to the demand.
“What we are seeing in the trending is that now that the markets have been stable for the last two years, the luxury catering business as a whole is coming back and strengthening every year,” she told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.
“We [Barbados] need to get stronger, we are still gapping a little bit on it. Before the recession there were helicopters that you could fly around for the day, and there were many chefs in the villas and all of these really high end catering services,” she said.
“That really dried up for the five to six years of the recession and it’s now just starting to come back, where the market is demanding it again, saying ‘yes, we want to go on a catamaran boat but we want a really nice one, it’s not all about the partying’.”
Using the luxury Royal Westmoreland venture as an example, she said “the market is here and willing to spend but they want world class service and they want world class products, so they are not looking for a bargain experience”.
“The trend of the all-inclusive is not where I would see Barbados going, yes, it’s nice to have a few of them, but having great restaurants and other offerings is key,” she said.
“There are people wanting to go and have these special experiences and they just don’t exist because our capacity is small. We have to balance between being super busy in winter and then not being able to support that, the average local market doesn’t eat at [fine dining restaurants] every day, they can’t afford to.
“So I think what we are finding is, yes, there is a need for more of the luxury catering services, but how we do that and how that’s sustainable is something Barbados has to figure out.” (SC)