Tourism is important to Barbados and efforts are continuously being made to ensure that ‘Brand Barbados’ is not ruined.
Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-committee on COVID-19, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, stated this last evening, during a press conference at Ilaro Court to update the nation on Barbados’ COVID-19 situation.
Minister Walcott was responding to the question on what it was going to cost Government to refund travellers their accommodation costs, as well as a paid return trip to those travellers who had waited more than 72 hours for their second COVID-19 test results.
He emphasised that it was about “balancing things”, and Government had weighed the cost of refunds and paid return trips versus the cost to Barbados’ international reputation in tourism.
Minister Walcott explained that Government had advertised that travellers would receive their second test results in 24 hours of the sample reaching the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory, and at present that has not been the case.
He stressed: “We know the importance of tourism to Barbados and we can’t afford to destroy our international reputation.”
Also speaking on the matter was Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, who stated: “We have people who have come to our island as we have marketed it for many, many years,… [and] every message that goes out on social media and goes out in the press, that is bad coverage for Barbados; affects our recovery when that time comes. And so, we have to be able to find that balance between dealing with the immediate situation before us, and still also managing brand Barbados.”