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Restructuring the BTA, says Sealy

The local tourism industry will benefit from a restructured Barbados Tourism Authority which will see the establishment of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., two entities which will make the industry more competitive and relevant.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy made this announcement today in the House of Assembly while moving the Second Reading of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority Bill, 2014 and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Bill 2014.

Noting that restructuring of the BTA formed part of the 2008 and 2013 Democratic Labour Party manifestos, the Minister of Tourism said: “The two matters relate to the restructuring of the BTA. In 2008 it was clearly set out in the manifesto and in the 2013 manifesto we stated that the process we had started in 2008 will indeed be completed. Toady we are going to repeal the BTA Act and we will establish the the Barbados Product Authority and at the same time we are going to set up the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.”

While acknowledging that the tourism industry is dynamic, Sealy pointed out that in another 20 years there might be a need for adjustments if the industry were to remain relevant and competitive.

Examining the history of tourism in Barbados, the Minister of Tourism recalled that the sector was developed on an ad hoc basis.

Sealy argued that the unplanned development of tourism should be a thing of the past since “someone was out there waiting to take our lunch”.

The St Michael South-Central MP told fellow parliamentarians that the total experience was part of the tourism product.

Sealy stressed that while the product is important, Barbados must have a more dynamic marketing entity.

“Tourism product does not necessarily mean mortar and bricks. The hotel plant is part of it, but not exclusively the product. There is no need to get ourselves confused. The Barbados Tourism Investment Inc., will not be responsible for product because product is much wider than that. BTI facilitates investment in the sector and in some cases takes the lead. The BTI is really responsible for bricks and mortar work. For example, the good work they have done in Church Village, the City; the work they have done with the Constitution River and the Boardwalk in the City. That is only one aspect of the tourism product,” Sealy said.

Sealy pointed that the government has recognized that the BTA  was critical in moving the industry forward, but also acknowledged that it also had to make marketing more flexible.

He stressed that in the circumstances the government could not close the BTA and build a new structure in its place.

Sealy commended staff members for the good work they have done over the years and stressed that the restructuring programme was to make the industry more efficient.

He told fellow members of parliament that the two entities will share facilities at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

In addition, it was disclosed that the two entities will have shared directors and a shared technical committee.

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