CASINO CALL

New BHTA head wants gambling allowed onshore

Newly elected president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), Sunil Chatrani, is calling for casinos to be established here to lure more tourists to the island.  

Chatrani said this morning that there were not enough attractions to entice visitors and the country needed to up the ante.

Sunil Chatrani
Sunil Chatrani

“I have said in the past that we don’t have enough attractions [all year round]. We need dolphin parks, we need –– I’m going to be controversial here –– I’m even talking about casinos, you know? There are different things we need to look at,” he recommended at a media briefing at Courtyard At Marriott in Hastings which was called to announce the resumption of Delta Airlines’ service to Barbados.

Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Association (BTA), Adrian Elcock, was of the view it was a matter which should be “put on the table”.

Chatrani insisted Barbados could not continue to operate in the way it had in the past.

“We just can’t have the sea, the sand and the sun, you know? We need more things to keep people entertained on island, and we need better accommodation as well. We do need some brands. If you look at the properties on island, there are a few brands but there are not enough of those brands either. We need to look at that brand marketing to help with what we are doing in Barbados,” the hotel executive insisted.

Chatrani was also critical of the quality of some accommodations offered to visitors.

He said some were in serious need of upgrade.

“I represent membership; so the membership is not going to like this; [but] I think we need to upgrade our plant. I think for us to remain competitive, we have to upgrade,” he said, acknowledging that some properties were doing it and that Sandals Resorts coming onboard and upgrading would force others to follow.

“But it comes back to return on investment again, and as many people would always say, in our industry we do have a lot of capital tied up in this busines at the end of the day,” he added.

“We talk a lot about what is required to be profitable and I think at the BTA the Government of Barbados is supporting us in terms of the concessions we are looking for to make this profitable and reinvestment that is required of the plant. So in short time you will see that.”

But Chatrani pointed out that, in the meantime, there were plans to build additional properties in Barbados.

“There are a lot of properties on stream to do redevelopments at this stage, but we do have to raise our product levels, it cannot continue the way it is now,”                  he declared.

Meanwhile, Chatrani said having Delta Airlines on board would help the island increase its arrivals from the United States.

“The US market is where we’ve been struggling a little bit; the UK market has rebounded quite nicely. The US market, we need to do some things there,” he said.

The BHTA head said now that the BTA, the Government of Barbados and Delta had done their part, it was up to BHTA members to “take it to the next level and to help get those load factors up to maintain and to grow the flights”.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

 

9 Responses to CASINO CALL

  1. Regina Worrell
    Regina Worrell June 24, 2014 at 12:48 am

    NO NO NO NO AND 1000 TIMES NO.

    Reply
  2. Elke Hassell
    Elke Hassell June 24, 2014 at 1:36 am

    There are NONE Barbados is purely relying on Sea and Sand, something that a million other places around the world have too as well as casinos, amusement parks, and probably restricted laws on personal possession of Weed. But whom am I telling this to cause surely bout here nothing will change. Bye bye tourists

    Reply
  3. Margaret Lorde
    Margaret Lorde June 24, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Why not change the minister and his cronies?

    Reply
  4. Princess Tiny Neferua
    Princess Tiny Neferua June 24, 2014 at 5:25 am

    It’s about time………it’s done all over the world and it’s not that it will do any more harm than any of the other guilty pleasures that bajans indulge in on a daily basis..

    Reply
  5. Niel Harper
    Niel Harper June 24, 2014 at 5:31 am

    What is really driving this objection to casinos? I don’t know of any leading tourist destination that does not have casinos. For those calling for protection of locals, who’s protecting them from one-arm bandits and the lottery right now? The tourism product needs to be diversified — casinos is one way in which it can be done.

    Reply
  6. Niel Harper
    Niel Harper June 24, 2014 at 5:31 am

    What is really driving this objection to casinos? I don’t know of any leading tourist destination that does not have casinos. For those calling for protection of locals, who’s protecting them from one-arm bandits and the lottery right now? The tourism product needs to be diversified — casinos is one way in which it can be done.

    Reply
  7. Niel Harper
    Niel Harper June 24, 2014 at 5:31 am

    What is really driving this objection to casinos? I don’t know of any leading tourist destination that does not have casinos. For those calling for protection of locals, who’s protecting them from one-arm bandits and the lottery right now? The tourism product needs to be diversified — casinos is one way in which it can be done.

    Reply
  8. Dre Forde
    Dre Forde June 24, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Yes yes

    Reply
  9. Olutoye Walrond June 24, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Tourism is suffering the same fate as every other sector in this country: inertia. This is a place that does not believe in innovation; everything stays the same. I mean – look what we just did: conferred orders of the BRITISH empire on a set of our citizens, a practice brought here by the British 300 years ago.

    They are now members of the British empire that enslaved and brutalized their foreparents. Well, even Australia and Canada have abandoned that medieval tradition.

    In the case of tourism it’s not only the lack of innovation, but a certain complacency. When you drive around the country you don’t get the impression that tourism is our business. Roads overgrown with bush; litter all over the place; shanty-town-type huts in the centre of the capital.

    Why don’t we send some people to Bermuda to see how a tourist destination should look.

    Reply

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