Barbados Tourism Master Plan
The highly touted initiative known as the Barbados Tourism Master Plan is to be in place by June this year (2013).
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy briefed tourism stakeholders about the plan.
Sealy was the guest speaker at the First Quarterly meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) held Wednesday March 27th, 2013 at the Accra Beach Resort and Spa.
The plan, which has been in the making for well over one year, is the new template which the Government along with its private sector partners in tourism are looking to refocus the industry which is the lead sector in the economy.
Currently the tourism industry is recording lower arrivals with the number of long stay visitors to the island having dipped eight per cent so far in 2013, on top of a similar decline in calendar 2012.
The plan is to be instituted over 10 years (2012-2021). The emphasis will be on marketing, promotion, attracting new investment in the industry, and grow the industry in a manner that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Among the major highlights are:
» infrastructure and product development;
» physical environment that covers land use patterns;
» improved transport systems;
» an improved regulatory framework to ensure that all components of the plan are adhered to;
» training for employees; and
» marketing and promotion and product development.
Both the public and private sector players have agreed that the Barbados Tourism industry is a matured one, giving rise to the need for a fresh impetus.
In the address to the BHTA, Sealy set the proposed plan in motion when he announced that Government’s main promotion agency, the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) is to be restructured.
“The cabinet of Barbados has agreed to the restructuring of the BTA, the matter is now in the Chief Parliamentary Councils offices and will be soon be in Parliament to become part of the laws of Barbados,” said Sealy .
The plan is to separate the BTA into two institutions, one to focus on marketing, the other on product development. One of the new structures to be known as the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc will operate as a wholly owned Government limited liability company and will be solely responsible for marketing Barbados.
It is expected that allowing growing autonomy in the marketing aspect of the BTA makes it more responsive to the ever changing needs of the global tourism market place, which should be a plus for industry partners.
“We are restructuring to make the entities modern, responsive and private sector oriented and by putting the right people and the right systems in place in terms of running the organisation, we should see better results,.” Sealy said.
In the similar tone he added, “The other entity will be the product authority of professionals with the necessary creative innovative approaches that can assist Barbados in developing its product in a more strategic fashion.
The product element will allow more focus on the visitor experience, product authority can deal with standards, service excellence and it is not buried away with an authority primarily focused on marketing.
“Having two focused institutions that can improve the tourism sector, I believe these changes will greatly assist us in fashioning a more viable tourism industry” Sealy added
Written by: Brett Callaghan
April 1st, 2013