Shortened winter season

It seems as if time is motoring along at a rate never seen before. Just a short while ago, we were all making plans for Old Year’s Night and the celebration of the New Year and it seems like the end of the tourism winter season is steering up in the face already.

The start of Lent always provides an indication that Easter is just around the corner and inevitably, the end of the winter season. With Easter falling earlier this year than the previous year, one can expect a shortened winter season. When this happens one can expect a fall off in rates earlier than usual and a fall off in demand as well.

The question others have asked me is: “Why is there this reduction in demand and what causes the reduction in rates just after Easter?”

There is a relatively easy answer to these questions. Easter is considered one of the family festivals, especially among the Christian community. Along with the family festival comes family travel and therefore this helps to create the demand.

On the question of rate, this is a question of supply and demand. Once the family time is over and school gets going again in our major source markets, the family travel lessens and creates a void. This is where it is either important to look towards other source markets or influence decisions through the attractiveness of special offers to travel.

All of these situations have some impact on the country as a whole. Reductions in demand or rates automatically results in a reduction of foreign exchange earnings. This is where a careful analysis of the volume versus the rate being charged is important. If by reducing the rates to gain volume will work in the best interest of generating the much-needed foreign exchange, this may be a good strategy to engage.

Armed with this information of perhaps a shortened winter season, I believe that we have to move urgently to solidify the period, which falls immediately after the winter has ended. I have always been of the opinion forecasting is critical to our success and decision making. We cannot afford to relax and wait to see what will happen, we need to start now.

I further believe that we cannot relax our efforts on the domestic or regional fronts. The Caribbean is right next door and we have many events taking place here in Barbados over the next few months.

We must make every effort to capitalise on the fact that these events are happening and influence travel into the island for them. On the local front Staycation is still one of our best options and should be influenced even more.

Tourism is our business, let’s play our part.

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