Business sluggishness affecting Barbados’ tourism competitiveness

The slow pace of doing business in Barbados has been identified as a major contributor to the island’s slide in tourism competitiveness.

Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Roseanne Myers said while the hotel sector had witnessed an overall decline in costs for the 2016 period, which the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report examined, she agreed there were some areas that needed improvement.

The recently released report, which is published by the World Economic Forum’s Industry Community for Aviation, Travel and Tourism, put Barbados at 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 categories including 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 370-page document ranked Barbados at 134th for price competitiveness, 123rd for cultural resources and business travel and 118th for natural resources.

“We know that we are not gifted with speed at licensing, at regulations and incentives, and it has really killed our competitiveness and we have to face up to it,” Myers told journalists at the first of a series of news conferences the BHTA has scheduled to give updates on the industry.

However, looking specifically at the price competitiveness aspect of the report, she contended that it did not take into consideration all levels of hotel pricing.

“They only used top tier hotels. When you look at this data, you really have to get behind the numbers or you don’t know what they are saying. But that hotel pricing actually showed that the average price for the hotels that they used dropped . . . .The other areas didn’t fare so well and that is why the price competitiveness indicator actually was worse for Barbados, but it wasn’t [as a result of] the hotel price,” she explained, insisting that she was “not trying to cover” for the hotel sector.

Notwithstanding, Myers said she agreed with the report that the island could do more in the area of cultural tourism.

She said the BHTA would be strengthening its relationship with the University of the West Indies in order to get help analyzing statistics to assist industry officials in making the necessary tweaks.

“There is no question we can learn from [the report]. It is just that we need to get behind the numbers a little bit more,” Myers said.

“You have to know where your strengths are and we need some help looking at that data and trying to see what are the things the BHTA can do to influence the competitiveness of Barbados as a destination, and what are the things we really have to continue to urge the Government to do with respect to the legislative regime and to improve our overall competitiveness.”

12 Responses to Business sluggishness affecting Barbados’ tourism competitiveness

  1. Marilyn C Fields
    Marilyn C Fields April 28, 2017 at 1:48 am

    Why do bajans always wait until after the horse has bolted from the stables.. Then stand up and scratch they heads..wondering what they could have done to succour the door properly.

  2. jrsmith April 28, 2017 at 5:12 am

    Non productive lazy attitude…thats why barbados is there for the taking but not by bajans………………………..
    50 years of (Independent Dependency) and still 1% control our nation, aided by our corrupt politicians, we are a very silent , silent, democracy ……………………………………………………….

    • Jennifer April 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      @jrsmith – so who exactly is lazy?????
      Share rubbish, this report. This puts me in the mind of the cane ground. The more canes you cut the more you are criticized for the way in which the canes are cut. This is also similar to IQ testing, he who sets the test base the questions off his own chain of thought. We as a people do not even know our culture, only what was given to us. The hotels are owned by the 1% of Barbados, so it is only obvious for them to project their culture.

      • Jennifer April 28, 2017 at 12:23 pm

        To infuse more culture into the hotels you can mummify some canes and place them by the doors with a slave effigy and a Collins. Souse, cou cou and flying fish already in there. Mother sally wuk up with drums rubbish is already in there. All culture of black people was destroyed and is now FAKE, and this is the basic wilful blindness of this people.

  3. Samantha Best April 28, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Why don’t these officers ever talk about the decisions being awaited from Ministers and/or the Cabinet. There are numerous times when Public Officers prepare their reports,submit them to their Ministers for approval, and they went for time without end for those approvals. The extremely weak Permanent Secretaries in the system then are afraid to ask them for the files. If the applicant is known to the Minister the file is worked on with zest and zeal. If the applicant is unknown it will wait and wait…. If the Minister is away from Office, God helps that person because the acting Minister will say he is not dealing with it.

    Then Ministers like Donville Inniss because he has access to the media, unlike Public Officers, who are forbidden from speaking to the media, will get and say that Public Officers, rather than work on a file today leave it for one month. In his quest to the top he
    will get no where. It is time the Prime Minister places a gag order
    on him. He will destroy whatever support is left.

    Then there is the issue of staffing. When a Minister goes on leave even for one day, there is an acting Minister. When a Public Officer goes on leave even for one month, there is no substitut. Hence his or her work will remain on the desk until his or her return. The Permanent Secretary has no one else to assign the work to in an already depleted office. Plus the Permanent Secretary is unable to carry out the task himself because he is unfamiliar with the subject matter. They are appointed because they carry the Minister’ luggage.

  4. tsquires April 28, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Sisters and Brothers all, if your house has a leak and you either just patch it or put a container to catch the water. I guess all of you know what will be the end result so enough has been said!!! Peace Love and Light to all our people no matter where dispersed.

    • Jennifer April 28, 2017 at 11:46 am

      @tsquires – but that’s ALL THEY CAN DO.

  5. Barbara April 28, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Hotels need first to be hospitable, make their guests feel welcome, make sure they have a good experience from start to finish(No. 1)and take care of the details

    I am currently a guest in one of our top hotels, and so far it is failing in all of the above. Another big thing…where are the smiling Bajan staff? The positive energy? They need inspiration

    I worked all my life in tourism and I speak from my heart

    • Biscuits April 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      So on point! I am sorry to say that our people no longer understand that ‘a smile’ is the best accessory anyone can wear! Unfortunately we see service as servitude, and fail to understand the implications of less than stellar attitudes towards our work.

  6. Samantha Best April 28, 2017 at 10:30 am

    It’s a pity public officers are not allowed to respond after all the bashing they get. Private Sector old ups and non responses are always there as well. Can’t say anymore because it would not be published.

  7. L King May 7, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I’ve lived on the island for under a year and visited it 12 times for between 3 weeks to 3 months and I can say Barbadians are way too slow in doing things: yes Bajans are reactive and very few are proactive.

    This mindset has not affected revenue from tourism but in every realm of business and social responsibilities activities.


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