CHANGES AT BTA EXPECTED TO BOOST TOURISM

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Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy (centre), briefing the press on the current state of the tourism sector. Also pictured from left are Chairman of the BTA, Ralph Taylor and President, Stuart Layne.

A novel development will see a new-look Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) that will comprise a two-tiered company, where one entity will be responsible for marketing and the other for product development.

This was disclosed today by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, as he briefed the press at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on the current state of the tourism sector. A number of issues that impact the industry and the latest information pertaining to its performance were also divulged.

Minister Sealy noted that Cabinet had decided there was a need to restructure those entities that govern the tourism industry. He said: “The redesigning of institutions that govern public sector tourism involved high levels of consultation and thorough investigation of international best practices.”

Alluding to the likelihood that the two entities may be called the Barbados Tourism Marketing Company and the Barbados Tourism Product Development Company, Minister Sealy said there would be no duplication of work involving the two entities and administrative costs would be shared. 

The Tourism Minister further disclosed that the composition of the Board of the BTA had been adjusted with nine members retained and two new ones added. He said: “We have not sacked or chased away any-one… merely invited them to be a part of this [new] entity.”

Mr. Ralph Taylor and Mr. Austin Husbands remain Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Board, respectively.

Other members include Dennis Roach; Alvin Jemmott; Michael Yearwood and Stephen Alleyne a representative from the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, and the Barbados Workers’ Union and the Chief Tourism Development Officer (of the Ministry of Tourism).

The new members are Dr. Kerry Hall and Senator Peter Gilkes.

Previously, there were 18 members on the BTA Board. With the restructuring of the Authority, it is expected that the other nine members will serve with the new product development company.  

During the briefing, the Minister also threw some light on the current state of arrivals, noting that in 2008, 566,763 tourists visited Barbados. He said revenue, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, stood at some US $1.2 billion.

The Minister called it “a record year, with the industry making more money than it has ever earned”.

jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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