Barbados adding $10 million to its 2008-2009 tourism promotion budget

Barbados adding $10 million to its 2008-2009 tourism promotion budget

The Barbados government has announced a 10 million dollar addition to its 2008 budget for tourism promotion.

This was among a series of initiatives announced for the sector in the government’s 2008-2009 fiscal budget, presented in parliament by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, David Thompson.

Canada is one of the countries targeted for enhanced promotion, as Barbados seeks to restore Canadian visitor arrivals, which have declined in the last 20 years.

“The marketing of the country will be intensified, but will also become more focused on the market niches that we consider, on the basis of the statistical evidence available, provide us with the best value for our marketing dollar,” Mr. Thompson told the Barbados House of Assembly.

He added: “I have specifically asked that we focus more on the Diaspora market, in order to attract more friends of Barbadians living overseas as visitors to Barbados. A programme must be developed with appropriate incentives given to encourage Barbadians living overseas to market our country.”

Mr. Thompson forecasts that “every two years” the Barbados luxury tourism market could expect to see the construction and opening of an internationally branded hotel and branded residences “catering to the five-star and ultra luxury tourism market.”

The Barbados Prime Minister also spoke of plans to assist the “budget” hotels, some of which he feels will require upgrading.

“We expect that many of the properties will want to enter into arrangements with the better known international budget chains, to expand their international name recognition, without losing their local identity, so as to expand their marketing reach and muscle, improve their operational systems and lower unit costs, and so improve their occupancies and profitability,” Mr. Thompson said.

The Barbados government further announced new tax concessions for private investors in the tourism sector.

Said Mr. Thompson: “Every private tourism development making provision from this income year for mass participation by the average Barbadian, will qualify for additional income tax concession of up to 5 years over and above the original and normal concession, if 25% of the investment is owned by Barbadians in blocks of not more than $100,000 per shareholder.”

Alongside these developments will be the establishment of a number of marinas to attract yachts, as well as construction of new jetties in fishing villages on the east and south coasts.

The Prime Minister envisaged that the jetties and unique fishing villages will “become points for light commercial hospitality activities, such as locally-owned restaurants, bars and nightclubs catering both to locals and visitors alike.”

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July 10th, 2008

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Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow online businesses with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.