Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Francine Blackman, signing the contract for the MasterCard Tourism Insights Tool Platform while Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Jens Thraenhart, looks on. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

A landmark occasion was made this morning when Barbados signed a contract with MasterCard International Inc. to be part of their Tourism Insights Tool Platform.

Signing the contract was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Francine Blackman, as well as representatives from the entity who will have responsibility for overseeing the project, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Jens Thraenhart and BTMI’s Director of Marketing, Robert Chase.

According to MasterCard Vice President, Principal Data and Services, Latin America and Caribbean, John Munoz, Tourism Insights uses machine learning algorithms and human expertise to capture timely and useful data by MasterCard users, that can be analysed to help track trends and investigate emerging or growing markets, which can be used to increase visitor spend and gain an edge in the very competitive tourism industry.

Mr. Munoz, commended Barbados for signing on to the platform, stating: “Barbados is the first country in the Caribbean to adopt the Tourism Insight platform. Barbados is joining Paris, London, Madrid, Seville, Greece, New York and Tokyo…. So please feel free to feel proud of this being the tip of the spear and leading the tourism ecosystem in this digital era.”

Permanent Secretary Francine Blackman, noted that signing on to the platform was important as it would allow for the Ministry to utilise the modern tool to find unseen patterns that would assist in making evidence-based policy decisions.

“This Tourism Insight Tool gives the BTMI a 360-degree view of travellers such as consumer profiles, preferences, behaviours and spending patterns.  Barbados tourism marketers will gain insights into the products and tourist attractions that are of the most interest.

“With this information, Barbados will be better able to determine the windows of opportunity for marketing campaigns, developing marketing campaigns, as well as understanding the levels of satisfaction within its industry products and services, … all with the intention of spurring greater revenue growth,” Ms. Blackman explained.

Dr. Thraenhart added that in partnering with MasterCard’s platform, Barbados can become a smart and data-driven destination. 

“I think having partners like MasterCard helping us and supporting us, makes it possible to move in that direction.  This is, I think, extremely important as we’re coming out of COVID-19 and making sure that we recover in a way that not just looks at pure advertising but really understands the audiences in order to meet the demands of a very competitive environment,” the BTMI CEO stated.

The CEO along with the Director of Marketing, Robert Chase stressed they were very excited to leverage the data to help increase visitor spending that would benefit all players in the industry, as the BTMI seeks to build an inclusive and bottom-up tourism marketing environment.

The Tourism Insights Tool initiative falls under the Ministry’s National Tourism Program, Component two, which is aimed at enhancing Barbados’ tourism industry by strengthening digital marketing.

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