A Record $100 Million for Barbados Tourism
The Barbados Government is injecting just over $100 million into the business of tourism promotion for the forthcoming financial year (April 1st, 2013 – March 31st, 2014).
The Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year 2013-2014, a copy of which has been obtained by Totally Barbados, reveals that $101.7 million will be allocated to the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA).
The BTA is the country of Barbados’ principal tourism promotion agency, which markets the island in major source markets.
There will also be $10 million injected into the Barbados Tourism Investment Incorporated (BTII) to undertake projects mainly around Bridgetown to help with the program of beautifying the Capital City and to bring more traffic back into town.
Last year long stay visitor arrivals into Barbados dipped with a falloff recorded in major markets like the USA, UK, and the Caribbean, except for Trinidad and Tobago.
Not only did arrivals dipped last year but visitor spending fell to Bds$1.9 billion, according to information sourced from the Central Bank of Barbados.
Some of the funds outlined in the Estimates are expected to be deployed in the key markets (USA and UK) to halt the slide in arrivals. It is the first time resources of this magnitude have been allocated to the industry; the primary money earner in the economy.
Barbados is banking on a recovery in tourism to fast track growth in the overall economy. Whereas last year the United States election and the London Olympics contributed to declining numbers in overnight visitors, none of those events will be factors in 2013.
The only worrying sign remains the Air Passenger Duty, which airlines flying out of the UK are forced to levy on passengers.
Mention is also made in the Estimates about Barbados’ financial commitment of about $100,000 to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, a regional umbrella body whose membership is drawn from tourism destinations around the Caribbean.
Apart from detailing the funds for the BTA, the Estimates refer to a Tourism Master Plan which will fully incorporate policies for moving the tourism industry forward.
The plan outlines policies about marketing, especially in key markets, testing new and non-traditional markets, identifying market niches, and developing new products.
The $10 million injections into the BTII comes as there continues to be heightened activity around Bridgetown where the country is building capacity.
To date, millions of dollars have been spent on improving Bridgetown, a project mounted by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with some private companies and a few government agencies.
The BTII is also currently undertaking improvements to the Constitution River. Some dredging has been done after which the area will be beautified.
That project is expected to reach as far north as Roebuck Street near the Globe Cinema.