Push to expand tourism source markets, says Cummins

With the war waging in the Ukraine as a result of invasion by Russia, Barbados must look beyond traditional source markets such as Europe for tourism business.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins shared this view with members of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) at the organisation’s first quarterly meeting today.

Saying the developments in Europe were likely to have implications for European visitors to Barbados, Cummins told the BHTA: “There has to be a diversification in partnership with the BHTA in the marketing of Barbados in markets outside of the UK and Europe.”

She updated the BHTA membership on the range of ongoing discussions in which the Ministry of Tourism was engaged with a view to developing new markets apart from the traditional sources, such as Africa and the Middle East.

She also expressed the desire for greater collaboration between the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) and the BHTA in the promotion of Barbados’ tourism and called on the BHTA to furnish the ministry with more comprehensive data for the purpose of analysis.

New chairman of the BHTA Renee Coppin said tourism remains the main plank of Barbados’ economy and, as such, must be given the necessary support for its functioning.

In her inaugural address at the BHTA’s first quarterly meeting for the year, she said since tourism directly accounted for 14 per cent of the island’s employment and was a significant earner of foreign exchange, attention has to paid to the ease of doing business, as Barbados could not afford for tourism “to go the way of sugar”.

Reporting on hotel occupancies, she said a reported average occupancy of 68 per cent in January 2022, after the poor performances of 2020 and 2021, may be a sign that Barbados was coming to grips with the COVID -19 pandemic in ways that would allow many operators in the tourism sector to sustain their livelihoods and rebuild their businesses. (GC)

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