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Barbados loses ground

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Barbados loses ground

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BARBADOS’ HAS LOST some of its travel and tourism competitiveness.

However, it remains the highest ranked destination in the English-speaking Caribbean.

That’s based on the 2017 edition of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.

In the report’s last edition – 2015 – Barbados was ranked 46 out of 141 countries. This time, it has slipped to 58 out of 136 locations, with its overall competitiveness score reduced from 4.1 to 3.9 per cent.

The global ranking was topped by Spain for the second time, followed by France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom (UK), United States, Australia, Italy, Canada, and Switzerland.

While there were few Caribbean islands ranked, Barbados emerged ahead of the next highest, Jamaica, which improved on its ranking, moving from 76 to 69 between the last two reports. Trinidad and Tobago regressed, moving down from 69 to 73.

When Barbados’ overall ranking was segmented, it was rated among the world’s best for prioritisation of travel and tourism (eight), and ground and port infrastructure (14). Also, health and hygiene (41), ICT readiness (42), and safety and security (55) were commendable.

But the island was among the worst for price competitiveness (134). WEF said the price competitiveness category “measures how costly it is to travel or invest in a country”.

The only countries ranked below Barbados in this category were the UK and Switzerland, but this did not stop these countries from being ranked in the overall top ten.

Under the price competitiveness category Barbados ranked lowly in ticket taxes and airport charges (109), hotel price index (101), purchasing power parity (123).

In terms of the positive prioritisation of travel and tourism pillar, this “measures the extent to which the government actively promotes and orchestrates the development of the [travel and tourism] sector”.

The only countries the report said showed greater priority – in order or ranking – were Malta, Singapore, Iceland, Mauritius, Spain, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.

Commenting on the region, the report said “Central American and Caribbean countries continue to rely too excessively on their natural resources and have not made much progress in developing other tourism segments or complementing their beach offer with other activities. These trends are confirmed by shifts in performances across the region.”

It added, however, that “the Americas is the macro region with the second most improved performance at the aggregate level”.

WEF said the travel and tourism competitiveness index measured “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country”.

It added that the aim was to “provide a comprehensive strategic tool for measuring the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country”.

“By providing detailed assessments of the T&T environments of countries worldwide, the results can be used by all stakeholders to work together to improve the industry’s competitiveness in their national economies. It also allows countries to track their progress over time in the various areas measured.”