Ready to go
BTMI being proactive, says Roach
The Barbados Tourism Marketing Incorporation (BTMI) is now a reality and interim president and chief executive officer Petra Roach says the organisation, which will operate as a private sector entity,
is already in top gear and ready to market the island.
The BTMI began operations yesterday, replacing the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA).
The other entity which will join the BTMI in taking over the mandate of the BTA – the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) – will come into effect as of September 1. That will remain a statutory corporation with the merging of employees from the Ministry of Tourism and some former BTA workers.
With increased airlift and some major events to be hosted in Barbados, Roach told Barbados TODAY the BTMI was being proactive in its approach by identifying the right overseas partners in order to get more tourists to the island and tap into more niche markets.
This, she said, was one of the medium to long term strategies in place to significantly improve the island’s tourism product.
Roach said the BTMI would also be working very closely with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) and tour operators, and making greater use of social media in its marketing efforts.
“I think Barbados is really current; we are on people’s radars, we just have to leverage these opportunities. We just have confirmation that next year May 1 to 5 we are going to be hosting the England versus West Indies [cricket series, and] we’ve got Top Gear again for next year. So I think that in each of the disciplines that we are going after, in each of the niches that we are going after, we have managed to attract the best of the best,” said Roach, adding that the island was still benefiting from this year’s Top Gear Barbados Festival this year.
“The Marketing Inc. is going to continue negotiations in the overseas market for visibility for Barbados in order to ensure that we go after the niches and do proper networking . . . . And it is going to be a private sector organisation, which means that it is much more nimble, much more proactive and we can engage in commercial opportunities,” she added.
The tourism official said a number of activities, including conferences and sporting events, were lined up for the remainder of this year and next year that should benefit the island’s tourism product.
While she could not immediately put a dollar figure to the benefits, Roach said each event was expected to attract large numbers of visitors.
It was confirmed earlier this month that a new chief executive officer for the BTMI has already been identified and is due to be in place by October.
The interview process to fill the other vacancies is expected to begin late next week.
And while the BTMI will get some funding from Government, it will also have its own revenue-generating streams.
“It is about working assiduously with the partners in the market to ensure that there is good exposure [and] it is working closely with the partners on the ground here to make sure the product is right [and] that we’ve got good pricing in the market place,” Roach said.
The BTPA will focus on research and identifying what the trends are in the marketplace, which will help in the development of various products and events on the island that should cater to people’s needs and wants.