The Tourism Accommodation Bill will be presented before Parliament in the coming months according to Minister of Tourism Ian Gooding-Edghill.
The Minister was speaking in Parliament during the Estimates Debate on Monday when he announced there was a need to ensure Barbados maintained its standard of being an ideal tourist destination.
“We have to ensure that the equivalence of an AirBNB is properly regulated because there are product quality issues,” Gooding-Edghill said.
“We have to ensure that we continue to strengthen our quality assurance in order to protect Barbados’ brand and reputation. I believe that there is an opportunity for Barbados to continue to grow given the pace in which we are seeing investments in villas. On the books of one establishment is an excess of $100 million in construction works for villas and there are more moving in that direction.”
This announcement prompted the discussion about maintaining tourist satisfaction with the Minister of Elderly Affairs Kirk Humphries raising the question about what could be done to attract a younger and possibly different tourist from the ones that traditionally visit.
Dr Jens Thraenhart, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, is of the opinion that after a strong winter period for the tourism industry where the restaurants, beaches and hotels were full, the area for growth is during the summer.
He said: “We are looking to create a curation of experiences because that is what people are looking for when they arrive post COVID-19. They want to connect to local experiences, people and the communities they come from. That can then also be taken outside virtually so that we can engage people before they actually arrive.”
Thraenhart, who has been CEO since November 2021, continued saying: “We can start by leveraging the people who are already coming. The cruise ship experience is just a taste but we need to engage them and bring them back for the real thing.
“Another opportunity is capitalising on meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) being hosted here and getting those people to recognise that this would be a good place to bring their families on vacation. Lastly it’s about building a data info structure where we can reach out, reduce our marketing costs and increase our conversions.”
Currently in the Vacation Rentals Sector, the name for the registered abodes for tourists, there are 1 258 properties, which works out to be 3 766 bedrooms. (JC)