Found napping

Brexit ‘caught us with our pants down’, says Myers

The decision by Britons to leave the European Union “caught us with our pants down”, exacerbating the many problems that faced the tourism industry here, says the island’s most senior private sector tourism official.

The United Kingdom is Barbados’ primary tourism market and many within and outside the industry have expressed concern about the possible impact on last June’s Brexit vote on the industry here, including the effect of the falling value of the pound.

However, Chairperson of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Roseanne Myers today said many of the challenges that confront the industry today existed long before Brexit and were simply amplified after the vote.

“If Brexit were to go away tomorrow and we were to look at what were the challenges that were facing the industry and the Barbados economy, the truth is, Brexit only made the problems that we had and continue to have, worse. Brexit came and caught us with out pants down,” Myers told a trade forum on Beyond The Border: A Practical Approach to Economic Sustainability at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.

Focusing her presentation on the Implication of Brexit on the Local Tourism Sector and BHTA Membership, the Atlantis Submarines general manager said Barbados had already been experiencing stiff competition from less expensive five star destinations such as Mauritius and the Maldives.

Devaluation of the sterling, she said, made it even costlier for British tourists to visit these shores.

In addition, she said there was an increase in the number of tourists opting to spend time with friends, while the luxury accommodation sector showed some decline due to price sensitivity and competition.

“I think that what we have seen, from talking directly to tour operators, is that the people we lost at the top at that repeat level of high net worth, they did not trade down and come to Barbados and stay at a different property at a different price in the winter, they actually stayed at the five diamond and five star level, but they went where their money could take them further . . . they basically chose another destination,” Myers explained.

The BHTA head pointed to other challenges, including a change in the spending habits of the visitors, who are cutting back on tours and attractions.

She added that while the sector had been made to wait for an inordinate length of time for Value Added Tax refunds, many of the promised incentives from Government had not materialized.

“These are not problems that were created post Brexit, they were there before. We took too long to deal with them, even though we recognized there were problems. Brexit came and caught us with our pants down so we are out there now trying for the trickle down to happen,” Myers emphasized.

However, the top tourism official made it clear the sector had not reached panic levels and there was “no doom and gloom”.

“We must remain positive and we must remain focused,” she said, while adding that it was critical that the authorities remain proactive and nimble in monitoring and quickly tackling challenges, diversify the offerings, strengthening and protecting the local brand, pre-selling value added options, and confronting the economic challenges.

14 Responses to Found napping

  1. Alex Alleyne April 7, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Nothing new, we are always a “wait and see” people.

    Reply
  2. Donild Trimp April 7, 2017 at 9:59 am

    The tourism industry is a fickle industry and it is not made up of the rich and super rich.

    The majority of tourist visiting Barbados are what we in the field of analytics call strugglers.

    The few tourist with expendable income will still spend their money and the super rich will still stay at the luxury facilities but the belief that thousands of tourist visiting Barbados possess the ability to spend millions of dollars to inject into the economy is wishful thinking.

    Barbados needs to look at other alternatives to the tourist industry for meaningful revenue streams.

    Reply
    • Jennifer April 7, 2017 at 11:19 am

      @Donild – OK then. Good observation.

      Reply
  3. seagul April 7, 2017 at 10:48 am

    And the main and only meaningful alternative is semi-greenhouse vegetable production….t.griffith@bluewin.ch.

    Reply
  4. Head shots April 7, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Why these officials getting paid so much money to do nothing

    Reply
  5. BOB FOSTER April 7, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    FOUND NAPPING! WAKE UP AND CREATE, STOP YOUR PARASITE THINKING, WHO TELLS YOU PEOPLE WOULD ALWAYS COME TO YOUR SHORES TO SPEND MONIES… THE BABY BOOMERS ARE STAYING HOME AND THE PEOPLE WITH WEALTH DON’T CARE ABOUT SPENDING WITH YOU.

    Reply
  6. Peter April 7, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Rosanne, You are a very beautiful and smart lady. I personally think you would have looked far more charming with your natural hair. One fellow referred to you as ” MIDNIGHT BLONDE.” Kind regards to the goodly doctor. Message sent via an overseas link.

    Reply
    • Donild Trimp April 7, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      “I personally think you would have looked far more charming with your natural hair.”

      Me think so too.

      Not proper English but what the hell.

      Reply
    • Jennifer April 7, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahaha, wooowee.

      Reply
  7. jrsmith April 7, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Thats the trouble we are so laid back, easy going , but going no where fast, we are never prepared for anything, whether financial, political or economical…….
    But must give a little credit , to the region , the (EU) set out to destroy the commonwealth, thats why they behave how they did.toward the region…
    Our problems started 3 decades ago, because of this said tourism we forgot there is a region, islands doing the same tourism , we adopt the stupidness of using the (US) for local trading and not our own dollar , which carry more strength than any in the region..
    Our politicians fail Barbados, they all sold us down the river bit , by bit, barbados is there for the taking ,but not by bajans………

    Reply
    • Jennifer April 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      jrsmith – so you are telling me that the previous destruction was not enough. How savage can some get????

      Reply
    • J. Payne April 7, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      Barbados’ is outdated in some areas. That’s Barbados’ problem. The UK has no personal responsibility since Nov. 30 1966. If the powers that be wanted the U.K. to consider Barbados in all matters they would have asked for a constituency seat in the British House of Commons rather than
      outright independence to copy Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. Martinique, Guadeloupe, and many other French and Dutch isles in the region, for example, have a representative(s) in their respective mother country’s Parliaments. We didn’t choose that path. Barbados’ dollar also isn’t the strongest in the region. Cayman Islands is worth MORE than the USD, one of the strongest in the world actually. Bermuda, Bahamas, and the Dutch Isles have a party peg of $1=$1. Barbados and Belize come after that with the need of $2 Barbados or Belize dollars to match the strength of a single USD.

      Reply
  8. Mikey April 7, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Hello Jennifer, do not let me put you in the same category as jrsmith, He/She does not know what to say when it comes to such topics. I am always reminded of the saying “If you do not know what to say, then keep your mouth shut”… Sadly jrsmith cannot follow that simple instruction !!!
    Britain leaving the EU has nothing to do with sovereign and independent countries like Barbados and other West Indian islands. Barbados’ problem is that the leaders have not yet learnt the simple lesson of not “putting eggs into one receptacle”.
    One simple accident like Brexit, an epidemic, unusually high crime, a super-hurricane or a tsunami can destroy TOURISM as a product for sale.
    OUR LEADERS ARE THE PROBLEM. CHANGE THE LEADERS AND STAND A CHANCE OF A BETTER BARBADOS, DOING BETTER, PERFORMING BETTER, YES STANDING A CHANCE OF BEING BETTER, BUT WE WOULDN’T KNOW UNTIL WE TRY, AND TRY AND TRY AGAIN UNTIL WE SUCCEED AT LAST (James Chambers aka Jimmy Cliff)

    Reply

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