Run tourism like a business

Keep politics out of tourism and run the sector like a business.

Chief Executive Officer of the Apple Leisure Group, Alex Zozaya issued the challenge to tourism leaders as he gave a frank assessment of the region’s bread and butter industry at the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) underway in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands where Barbados was elected to chair the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

According to Zozaya, who heads one of the world’s largest vacation businesses, regional economies would be a lot stronger if the sector was managed properly.

Alex Zozaya CEO of Apple Leisure Group delivering keynote address at CTO’s SOTIC 2014.
Alex Zozaya CEO of Apple Leisure Group delivering keynote address at CTO’s SOTIC 2014.

“Be more pragmatic, more technical, use best practices and run your region like a business. Once you do so it will result in prosperity for your people,” he said.

Zozaya also knocked the high taxes imposed on the sector, warning that Governments were reaping additional revenue with one hand and losing with the other.

“They are seeking to make more income, so they go increasing prices. When you apply additional taxes you continue to increase the price of your product and customers no longer come, but go to the shop next door,” he cautioned.

He also advised that the revenue derived from taxes should be re-invested in tourism to develop the product.

Speaking on the theme, Conceiving and Realising a Vision, Zozaya also gave advice on the marketing of the tourism product, cautioning officials on the manner in which individual islands are promoted.

He said authenticity is a must.

“You cannot promote your island as being friendly but the moment the visitor arrives at the airport, he has an issue with a rude immigration officer; this has a reflection on the whole experience. Neither can you promote your destination as the cleanest or most natural place on earth if it’s not,” the business mogul warned.

“Get out of the comfort zone. People are no longer coming to you because you are pretty. That’s not good enough anymore as there are far more beautiful destinations in the world.”

5 Responses to Run tourism like a business

  1. Santini More
    Santini More September 19, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Trying to keep the greedy, sticky, egotistic fingers of politicians away from Caribbean tourism is a great idea. Its just a shame it will NEVER happen.

  2. Steve Crawford
    Steve Crawford September 19, 2014 at 8:32 am

    That is good! As long as the poorest 10% of the Bajan population reap benefits from the industry.

  3. Dre Forde
    Dre Forde September 19, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Now look hay lol Barbados today n ppl run tourism like a business r ppl slow it is a business big big business so do talk like we slow just tha gov like to use tha money to help themselves n there offshore accounts

  4. Gregg Moseley Clarke
    Gregg Moseley Clarke September 19, 2014 at 11:39 am

    What is it being run like? a charity?

  5. christine September 19, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Good night. I never. Like barbados. Just a mind thing. I was always treated well there and made friends while attending school there and I loved my barbadian friends. It is a peacefull and beautiful place. I don’t like the present administration who cannot provide jobs for the people and laying off people in the govt. Especially in the health care. When a government does that the country is doingbadly. This government need to clean up ther act and reduce the vat so they can attract visitors and investors


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