BTA spending too much overseas, says senator

Too much money is being spent on overseas offices operated by the Barbados Tourism Authority.

That’s the view of Independent Senator Dr. Frances Chandler, who said it was unclear how effective the island’s multi million dollar tourism marketing programmes were working.

“I would say that good service and value for money, that actually is one of the best ways of marketing as far as I am concerned,” she said during debate on the new white paper on tourism development.

“I think it does a lot more that all of the millions spent by the BTA and I am not sure how efficiently and effectively these millions are spent either.

“I certainly am of the view that too much money is spent on these overseas offices and I wonder if they achieve enough for the amount that is spent on them,” she added.

Chandler said increased usage of the island’s Diaspora was one “good way” to improve the island’s tourism market efforts. She added the country’s tourism officials should target markets closer to home.

“Certainly we should be targeting South America, which is quite close and has good connections. So I think we need to do more of that,” she stated.

“As far as attractions are concerned, we know that we are a mature location and we have repeat tourists and I know of an instance where somebody who stayed here six months said they were only staying three months now because there was nothing to see or do, so we need to correct this.

“We also need to establish some themed tours, like tours of churches, gardens, farm tours, I am trying to promote that as much as I can, and heritage tours, also bringing in artists, who obviously would love to see the beautiful scenery we have and paint it, and photographers,” Chandler stated.

She said she also wanted more community involvement in tourism.

“Visitors enjoy interacting with members of the community rather than the sterile conditions of the hotels and I certainly don’t agree with the all-inclusive type of tourism. I think that the tourists need to visit some of our attractions and spend some money with the small entrepreneurs,’ she said. (SC)

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