|An artist’s impression of the office space at the LESC. (FP)|
The Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) is a viable venue for local, regional and international events and Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, has encouraged Barbados Conference Services Limited (BCSL), to embrace varied clientele, including young, local event planners.
Speaking today at a press briefing on the construction of office space at the LESC, Minister Sealy remarked that steps were being taken to better use both the existing site and the additional square footage which will be made available when the project is completed in June 2013.?? Upon completion, the 36.2 million dollar project will feature a main office building, a retrofitted kitchen facility, renewable energy photovoltaic components and a 300-plus capacity car park, which was completed in February.
He said: "There is a marketing plan [for LESC].?? There’s one in place at the moment and obviously it will be enhanced to reflect the improved offerings and the increased offerings…I have also explained to the [BCSL] board that their marketing department has to cut deals with people, particularly during the phase of the construction activity…Normally a room that may go for 100 dollars, you have to take 75 if people are going to be inconvenienced."
Mr. Sealy acknowledged that LESC’s promotion could not be limited to Barbados’ shores and stated that "we have to internationally market the fact that even though the centre is approaching 20 years [old], it is still remarkably in good condition and very attractive.??
"The Flamboyant Room, for example, with the balcony for [interpreters] is as modern and impressive a facility as you would find anywhere in the Caribbean and I think that we need to push that aspect and try to get more of the conference business," he stressed.
The Tourism Minister observed that the mixed use approach to the LESC – combining conference and office space – essentially made the Centre more viable and would assist in attracting more international events.?? However, local entities would also benefit from the additional 68 000 square feet of space.
"The majority of that floor space is going to be rented by central government.?? Public servants are entitled to operate in class ???A’ office space.?? There are too many public servants that are working in sick buildings…
"We simply have not had enough at this centre [international conferences]…There are some challenges, it is not a hotel conference facility…but it is not as unusual as some may want to suggest, to have a conference facility that is away from the hotels…" Mr. Sealy said, adding that partnerships with hotels were not uncommon to ensure that delegates were facilitated at both the accommodation and conference sites.
Acting CEO with the BCSL, Charmaine London informed the audience that the LESC’s current revenue was approximately three million dollars per annum, with an average of 40 events per month.?? She noted that they were marketing more to the international market and expected international-level events for 2013 and 2015.