New tourism office for Europe

Barbados’ tourism marketing efforts are about to be intensified as the state-run Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BMTI) embarks on a number of initiatives.

Chief Executive Officer William Griffith said one of the major initiatives involved the establishment of an office in the European market.

Addressing the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s (BHTA) quarterly general meeting yesterday, Griffith said the European market was currently in need of “a defined European office”,  pointing out that the last time a directorate was in Europe was about five years ago.

Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc Chief Executive Officer William Griffith
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc Chief Executive Officer William Griffith

“Currently Europe, in terms of its business development, is serviced out of the UK office but not with a dedicated European director,” said Griffith.

“I certainly believe that the opportunity to really capture more European business is there. We haven’t been in and around Scandinavia for a while [and] the German economy still seems to be very solid in spite of the fluctuations of the European currency. So that is definitely one of our key objectives,” said Griffith.

The BTMI currently has a total staff complement of 53, 36 based in Barbados and 17 overseas in markets including the US, Canada and the UK.

Another major effort to improve marketing of the Barbados destination will be the building of a new website that will involve the use of seven different languages, Griffith said.

That website will be developed by three companies – two local and one international. The building of started about a month ago and is expected to be officially launched at the end of January next year.

Griffith said the BTMI would also be working more closely with the BHTA to “come up with sporting events for Barbados’ friends and family in the diaspora market”. This, he said, was important “especially for 2016”.

“Honeymoon and wedding niche continues to be a major focus of ours as well and we are going to be embarking on a three year development plan that will spawn fiscal year 2016 for the next three years,” he said.

Griffith said a lot of time has been spent over the past year, since he took up the post in October 2014, on policy changes in the marketing, finance, and human resource departments, as well as analyzing how the organization did business especially with finance, in an effort to “drive business and put some structure into the organization”.

“We have managed to execute and implement significant savings in many departments. And one of the ways we want to do it is to be tighter, leaner and meaner and more prudent in how we do business,” he said, adding that there were about four more policy changes to take place.

“Another major achievement last month was, we implemented for the first time, a performance management system. So all employees in BTMI are currently undergoing performance appraisals on an annual basis,” said Griffith.

“We are currently developing significant brand guidelines for ad consistency across all the markets as well,” added Griffith.  

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