Hotelier warns that Brexit is no joke

Another serious warning to local hoteliers today to see Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) as a matter to be taken seriously because of the possible implications for the island’s bread and butter tourism industry.

Veteran hotelier Peter Odle said while he was confident local tourism officials would do what was necessary to keep British tourists coming and spending, he foresees some particularly challenging times ahead for small hoteliers as a result of the so-called Brexit vote.

“It is not going to be easy. The next couple of years [will] be challenging, but I think that we will be able to [deal with] it,” said Odle, in an address to the annual general meeting of the Intimate Hotels of Barbados (IHB) group at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning.

Peter Odle
Peter Odle

As the hotel group keeps an eye on Brexit-related developments,  he said it will be necessary for them to constantly seek out ways of reinventing their offerings and making them “a little bit different”.

“And when you go looking down the road, you don’t [have to] be worried. … Brexit has happened but the reality is we still need to make sure we get our share of business,” he said.

Immediate past chairman of the IHB group Kashka Haynes said while it was still unclear what impact the United Kingdom vote would have on other economies around the world, he was almost certain the already declining value of the British pound sterling would impact Barbados’ tourism sector.

“A declining value of the pound relative to the US dollar will affect our tourism because a stay in Barbados will become more expensive for an English traveller,” said Haynes, as he delivered his final report as chairman of the IHB group.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to do whatever is within our control to help mitigate against any fallout from this all important UK source market.”

Haynes urged IHB members to inform the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) of any cancellations in bookings out of the UK or any reduction in the pace of forward bookings.

“This is important information that we can share with the BHTA and the BTMI [Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.] and hence help with appropriate and timely marketing and promotional intervention,” added Haynes.

Making a presentation yesterday to announce the findings of a new global Information Technology (IT) survey, Managing Director of KPMG’s Global CIO Advisory Centre of Excellence Marc Snyder said despite Brexit-related uncertainty, he was confident it would have very little impact on investment in technology.

Snyder was speaking via Skype from the United States during a chief information officer (CIO) forum at the Courtyard by Marriott where the Harvey Nash/KPMG 2016 CIO Survey results were discussed.

“Despite some of the ongoing concerns about what is going on in the economy and the anticipation of Brexit, the confidence does remain high in technology and investments in technology,” he said.

Snyder added that while it was still unclear what implications are likely to follow as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU, it was likely to “put significant demands on IT to be able to respond to some of the changes that will be needed”.

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