Tourism slide

Local industry falls 12 places in latest global report

Already struggling to keep tourism spend up and adequately compete with more attractive destinations, the Barbados bread and butter tourism industry has become less competitive, according to the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.

Published by the World Economic Forum’s industry programme for Aviation, Travel and Tourism, the 2017 survey placed Barbados 58 out of a total of 136 destinations with an average score of 3.91.

This represents a slide in the island’s ranking from 46 out of 141 countries in the 2015 report with a score of 4.1 out of 7.

The report examined a range of areas under the board headings of enabling environment, policy, infrastructure and natural and cultural resources. Specific areas included international openness, price competitiveness, business environment, safety and security, health and hygiene, human resources and labour market, and information and communication technology (ICT) readiness.

The other Caribbean countries listed in the report were Jamaica, ranked 69, and Trinidad and Tobago at 73.

The 370-page report ranked Barbados at 134th for price competitiveness; 123rd for cultural resources and business travel; 118th for natural resources; 85th for international openness, 71st for business environment and 59th for human resource and labour market.

Other areas of ranking included ICT readiness at 42nd; health and hygiene at 41st; environmental sustainability at 27th; air transport infrastructure at 35th; tourism service infrastructure at 37th; and ground and port infrastructure 14th.

Just last week Executive Director and Professor of Strategy at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business Dr Miguel Carrillo warned that Barbados’ position as a tourist destination was “eroding” as it continued to face severe competition from other destinations, and that the island had difficulty in attracting and retaining even more visitors because of a lack of attractions.

The report said the majority of the countries in the region relied on their rich natural resources and good hospitality to appeal to tourists, and tended to be internationally open. It added that while most of the governments in the region understood the strategic role tourism played in development and job creation “some shared difficulties remain”.

“Central American and Caribbean countries continue to rely too excessively on their natural resources and have not made much progress in developing other tourism segments or complementing their beach offer with other activities,” it said, pointing out that culture was one area to tap into.

“While ground infrastructure is relatively well developed in North and Central America, including the United States, Canada, Panama, Barbados and Jamaica, ground transportation continues to lag across South America,” it added.

With international tourist arrivals to the hemisphere jumping from 170 million in 2013 to just over 201 million in 2015, North and Central America welcomed about 80 per cent of those visitors and Latin America, the remaining 20 per cent, it said.

Last year there were about 1.24 billion international arrivals, while the Caribbean received over 29 million, of which Barbados welcomed 630,000, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

The report called for all countries to find a better balance between developing their travel and tourism sectors and environmental protection, given the size and the importance of the natural environment.

The survey, titled Paving the Way for a More Sustainable and Inclusive Future, said while North America and Europe have dominated the travel markets in previous decades, that may not be the case “for much longer”.

“By 2030, most of the growth in international travel will come from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, which will enable further growth and job opportunities in these regions. While markets in Europe and the Americas will continue to grow, the rate is incomparable to other regions,” it said.

The not so good news for destinations such as Barbados is that “emerging markets will not only become larger source markets but also they will become more attractive destinations”.

“Between 2016 and 2026, the top ten fastest growing destinations for leisure travel spending are expected to be India, followed by Angola, Uganda, Brunei, Thailand, China, Myanmar, Oman, Mozambique and Vietnam,” the report stated.

The survey also pointed out that millennials were quickly becoming the industry’s core customer base, and therefore creating a strong value proposition for this group would be key to attracting them over the next decade.

The 2017 survey warned that to remain competitive the industry must incorporate more high-tech applications while tailoring offerings to traveller preferences. However, it warned industry officials to ensure that increased automation did not lead to a disconnect between online and in-person exchanges.

The research suggested that automation would change the nature of some travel jobs and eradicate others altogether.

“The industry hopes that new employment opportunities could outpace eradication should industry growth forecasts be met,” it said.

The top ten most competitive travel destinations in the 2017 report are Spain, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Italy, Canada and Switzerland, according to the survey.

Up to the time of publication local tourism officials had not responded to questions posed by Barbados TODAY in relation to the latest report.

22 Responses to Tourism slide

  1. Lenecia Bowers
    Lenecia Bowers April 18, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    The beach and beautiful

  2. seagul April 19, 2017 at 5:49 am

    People are finding out that there are an increasing amount of destinations out there, emerging destinations, which are giving a higher quality product for a more cost-effective price. But the hoteliers in B’dos remain greedy, simply put. With more reasonable rates there is a positive possibility for year round occupancy and an increase in all round employment.

  3. RB April 19, 2017 at 6:48 am

    @seagul … Spoken with a true lack of knowledge of what makes the hotel industry work. Everybody is such an expert

    • Milli Watt April 19, 2017 at 8:45 am

      @ RB seagul is right. it works because your type use taxpayers money to sell a third rate product, bank the foreign exchange in foreign accounts, pay workers a stipend (except for the overpaid over rated managers and then go b!&@^ to each other this friday. WISH I HAD A GLASS BOTTOM BOAT (with a hole) FOR ALL YOU ALL

  4. Saga Boy April 19, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Seagul does not have a clue about what he is talking. Compare our hotel rates with those in the region and then the USA and UK. and also Cuba and tell me what you get. And while you are at it compare the quality of the respective accommodations. What we need to do is to improve the quality of our service in order to increase the number of repeat guests. It would help as well if we get our hoteliers to bring home more foreign currency. I can bet you the there is no direct correlation between our slipping 12 places downwards and a reduction in visitor arrivals this coming winter season. When was this study done anyway?

  5. Richard Johnston April 19, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Barbados is particularly expensive to visit because of the strength of the US dollar to which the currency is pegged.

  6. seagul April 19, 2017 at 8:32 am

    How is it that a Swiss visitor to Bali can pay 60 USD in a 4 star hotel and in the same 4 star in B’dos they must fork out at least 200 USD. People are connecting and making great deals through the net. A word to the Carib boutique cartel—get with it.

    • Leroy April 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Seagul you are absolutely correct, b’dos is way over priced and anyone with a computer knows this.

  7. Dbajanman April 19, 2017 at 10:12 am

    This ain’t rocket science here, Barbados is too expensive for most people. I can get a hotel room here in Boston for under $100 a night, but in Barbados I need over a $100 US dollars, which is ridiculous.

  8. Walmark John F April 19, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Maybe the bloom is off the rose , so to speak relating to the Goose that laid the golden egg , called Tourism here in B’dos .
    What brought us to B’dos 20 years ago and has kept us coming back,,, so far….
    Beautiful Beaches…. they are still here albeit many are strewn with mounds of plastic bottles, foam packaging , plastic bags ,beer bottles and caps, cigarette butts….
    and no one seems to care and no one seems to be cleaning this mess up.
    Roads used to be safe,,,, well not anymore , for cars or pedestrians,,,,, everyone using cell phones, driving way to aggressively and way too fast for all conditions .
    We , as visitors , do read the papers , we see and hear how disfundtional the government is….
    infrastructure is crumbling, roads are just pot holes, sewers overflowed into sea on south coast last year .
    Police officers drinking beer on the beach,,, yes, saw this last week.
    I could go on and on,,,, there need to be polical will to change

  9. Walmark John F April 19, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Miss another major problem… BRIDGETOWN is a disgrace ,,

  10. Ossie Moore April 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Walmark John F , I agree with you 100 % Sir ! Bajans seem to think that the only media in the world is their own local media which always “push the good news ‘ down the throats of the bajans telling them what they want to hear . . . . that Barbados is the best , and most wonderful , beautiful country the world.

    I’m even surprised that this online news organization is now reporting about this problem with tourism , something it never would have done in the past.

    What bajans don’t understand is that the rest of the world ( potential visitors ) has all the information immediately available at their fingertips about the high crime rate , dangerous road conditions , high prices , etc that is causing the ” Bim ” to keep on loosing it’s once popular positions.

    But as soon as one try to tell bajans about problems on the island , they go in to the ” comparison factor ” saying ” dah in true buhbaydus in dat bad compared to Jamaica , Trinidad and Guyana ”

    And that ” comparison factor ‘ along with crime ,etc , etc is what is killing the island. . . . no pun intended.

    • hcalndre April 19, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      @Ossie Moore, you are right, bajans live in denial and believe that every thing barbados is the best from the beaches to education. I think the politicians are the down fall of barbados especially this group. They`re big on the Hyatt hotel as if visitors going to fall head over heels to get in. I predict that if and when they build the Hyatt, soon it be named London Bourne Towers #2 because as you read that they don`t have what it takes to bring visitors in big numbers. What have exposed barbados is the internet and social media because the government can`t control them.

  11. Tony Webster April 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    @Walmark, John F. : Thank you Sir, for your candid comments, which do indeed reflect most of the realities hiding in plain view of us voters. Speaking of the latter, that is where most of our troubles have both their Genesis….and their solution.

  12. Jea Alleyne April 19, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Looks like more and more people are noticing the mounting problems…..and social media helps to spread it all over the world…..I hope we werent only relying on tourism !!

  13. jus me April 20, 2017 at 1:15 am

    But GOD a Bajun.!!!!

  14. jus me April 20, 2017 at 1:18 am

    I jus read Stinkliar say
    HE ENT WORRY wiv nah downgrades.

    Trouble is I ent read what he say he is bothered with !!

  15. Ralph Talma April 20, 2017 at 2:40 am

    1. I have not returned to Barbados since I buried my Dad, but my Son (Edwy) has visited many times and always returns extremely happy and content. Having said that, I am now inclined to believe what Mr Walmark has said and it makes me very sad.
    2. Unless the Government gets to grip with these problems urgently, there will be a drop in visitor numbers. Surely that cannot be allowed to happen.

  16. Kris April 21, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I think the biggest takeaway from this article is that people are looking for places where the environment is intact. Bigger hotels only ruin this. Protecting what little natural areas you have left and attracting a more eco-conscious tourist will be better in the long run. People pay more for organic and natural and generally are more pleasant as well. Millennials are more health conscious and looking for authenticity. Maybe ban plastic and styrofoam and switch the island to all solar, you will see a lot of people coming to support that.

  17. kitty April 21, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    i agree w @Kris. along with the natural beauty which should be enhanced through care and encouragement and would be something that travelers are looking for more and more these days, while there is always the tourist who wants to sit on the beach all day and drink rum drinks. Barbados also has a reputation of being a bit stodgy and uptight. the laws against homosexuality eliminate a large segment of the world population who have fat wallets. another idea would be to decriminalize marijuana, or even legalize and all the guys growing weed would be entrepreneurs and the country to benefit like many american states by garnering huge tax increases. a bill to legalize is coming up for vote in canada which would legalize it across the nation. Ganga has much less impact on society than demon alcohol. IMO

  18. Rose Bartlett April 22, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I have visited from London twice very recently and I have to say I am appalled at the amount of derelict buildings..terrible roads..and rubbish on some beaches..I freaked out shop workers by announcing that I didn’t want their plastic bags for my shopping and proffering my own cloth bags that I had brought with me lol!!(you have to buy them in the UK now and it is at the stage of being frowned upon ..which is great!) Also some of the places we visited were abysmal ..again derelict and unmanned..there is an awful lot of untapped collaterall..and Bridgetown needs a good tidy up for a start!! Roads need decent signage and there needs to be better info at various tourist attractions. I want to love Barbados because its where my In Laws hailed from..but it needs to improve if it’s going to continue to get people visiting.

  19. JJ May 12, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    I’m an American, and my wife and I travel quite frequently all over the world. When we were looking for places to travel in the Caribbean, Barbados was our first choice but when things started adding up we choose another destination that was more affordable. You hotels are really expensive, we live in Chicago and we have some of the best hotels in the world. I can stay in those hotels for much less and they are much nicer than any of the ones I saw on line. Maybe someday when its more cost effective like the Dominica Republic, Panama or Mexico.


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