Tourism boss fears crime backlash

The head of one of the island’s leading tourism agencies is warning that if the crime rate continues to escalate, Barbados could reach a point where “no amount of marketing or promotional campaign” will attract visitors to its shores.

This caution has come from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the recently-established Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA) Dr Kerry Hall, who saw the recent upsurge in crime as a matter which needed to be addressed urgently.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY this morning, Dr Hall described the current situation as unprecedented and called any threat to Barbados’ main foreign exchange industry “a serious one.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority,  Dr Kerry Hall.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority,
Dr Kerry Hall.

“As a consequence, a situation can potentially occur whereby we deliver the best service possible, have the friendliest people, develop the most creative and effective marketing and promotional campaigns, upgrade and enhance our product and create new exciting and innovative attractions and activities and these efforts may be in vain if the situation worsens and our guests are deterred from visiting our shores,” she explained.

“I know that we as a nation do not wish for this to occur and that every effort will be expended to ensure that it doesn’t.”

While pointing out that over the years Barbados had built a reputation as one of the safest places in the world to visit, the BTPA boss maintained it was important that tourists felt comfortable while on the island.

She said visitors had become used to feeling safe here and that in turn had led to Barbados being touted as one of the most enjoyable destinations.

“There is a direct correlation between safety and a person’s capacity to relax. The wonderful thing about Barbados is that unlike a lot of other destinations where tourists exist in a bubble, and are confined behind high walls, huge fortresses and 1000-room plus hotels where they are boxed in and boxed out, Barbados does not have that.

“Those people never get a chance to connect with the local communities. Our guests can walk out the front roads of the hotel, catch a Transport Board bus or a minivan or even walk to the restaurants or supermarkets, because they feel safe. The modern day traveller wants to immerse themselves in communities and go and interact with locals and go to local events. That is our experience and that is one of our strongest’ advantages, that is what sets us apart,” Dr Hall added.

The CEO revealed that in the 2015 World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitive Report, Barbados scored a commendable 5.75 out of seven in the Safety and Security Index.

She said this was higher than the Caribbean and North American average of 4.64.

“While Barbados ranked up theere higher than a lot of developed countries in the Western Hemisphere, we cannot allow this to slip away. That is why this is so important to our country; this is why Barbadians need to know we cannot lose this critical component of our nation’s reputation as a whole, but particularly with respect to tourism,” Dr Hall noted.

6 Responses to Tourism boss fears crime backlash

  1. Tony Webster September 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Hats off to you, lady…for forthrightness…and a dash of bravery too! For myself, I would not even entertain the thought of visiting a country with known high levels of crime, particulary those with “violence against the person”.
    Yes, the current outbreak needs immediate remedy, if not cure, using all resources possible, and fulsome support from all strata of Bajan society. However, our Relevant Authorities need to simultaneously consider what actions need implementing at primary school levels of our society, as the current crop of criminal behaviour threatening our socio-economic well-being, had its genisis many years ago.
    We are now reaping the fruits of an “I’m all right Jack” mentality.

  2. Brewster September 3, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Well said! I am so worried that what is happening crime-wise will affect tourism. It is so scary to hear about the un-necessary shooting that is going on down there. If those louts were wiping themselves out you wouldn’t even mind, but a lot of innocent people are being caught up in cross-fire. Security surveillance at the ports and shores needs to be increased to insure the safety of bajans and tourists that guns are not easily passing into the country. A little bit of heavy-handed policing should bring the country under control. Adopt new measures of stop and search and give much heavier fines and sentencing. Let the louts know that crime will not be tollerated. Go out into the community and seek informers and start raiding across the country before things spiral out of control.

  3. jrsmith September 3, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Well said , DR,Hall, but this should be finger pointing and directed to the politicians who are in charge of Barbados LTD.

    This is very clear to most bajans ,our Barbados government, is in over its head.

  4. Alex Alleyne September 3, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    BDS must not surrender to such gun crime violence . One and all must lend a helping hand in ‘snuffing out these pests’.

  5. carson c cadogan September 3, 2015 at 5:47 pm


    If crime prevented Tourists from visiting locations, then Jamaica would not attract a single Tourist. The Murder rate in Jamaica averages around 1,500 per year. But the reality is that Jamaica attracts the most Tourists in the Caribbean.

    We are concerned but we have faith in our Security Forces. Although as the Hon. Prime Minister said that by the time the young people involved in nefarious activities reaches the Police it is already too late for them. In other words the Parents must play their role. It is not the Police alone , it is not the Govt. alone.

  6. carson c cadogan September 3, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    But to be really honest this upsurge in Crime in Barbados can be laid at the feet of the Barbados Labour Party.

    They have encouraged disrespect for Authority figures in this country, they have encourage civil disobedience, they have falsely spread despair, they have engaged in a campaign of DOOM AND GLOOM, they have done all in their power to lead Bajans by their fears rather than by their desires.

    Years of their nonsense have some Bajans especially vulnerable youths wrongly believing that the sky is falling, which of course could not be further from the truth.

    Hence what we are seeing in BarbadosToday.

    This Lady ought to have a serious talk with the Leader of the Opposition as part of a remedial process on Crime in Barbados


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