With cruise ships sailing at 50 per cent capacity and no clear indication when ships will return to sailing at 100 per cent, a new tourism model for the industry must be created that seeks to extract more from less.
This is according to Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, who was at the time speaking during a ceremony to welcome the AIDAperla cruise ship back to Barbados, on Wednesday evening.
Minister Cummins said Barbados needs to have the conversation surrounding how to reinvigorate its tourism product in light of less visitors coming to the island due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and implement a new model that does not negatively impact its infrastructure, way of life and sustainability.
She stated that a new transformational model was the way forward, where Barbados seeks to extract more from less, that is, extracting value with fewer visitors passing through the island.
“A broad policy conversation around the issues of sustainability and transformation, including structural transformation of our business models,” Minister Cummins suggested, was what the industry needed to move towards in order to protect the lives and livelihoods of those working directly and indirectly in the industry.
She added that Government is committed to developing its tourism industry. “We are committed colleagues and friends to making the transformations that are necessary. We are committed colleagues and friends to working with you to develop new business models because the world has and will continue to change and that which was done in 2016 and 2009, … has changed.
“And we are committed to working with all of our partners to ensure that the questions of sustainability of lives and livelihoods at all times are embedded in the development of new business models that allow for from the largest company to thrive to the smallest company to be able to be successful.”
Going forward, she pointed out that such a model for the tourism industry would be inclusive, where vendors from Trevor’s Way to taxi operators to small businesses within the industry would have a “right to live and earn an income”, and Government would work to ensure that all those in the industry would have an opportunity as part of this new tourism model.
“Barbados, we’re looking forward to building strong and deeper partnerships as the season evolves, and new relationships as a new season is upon us in 2022/2023 and we must begin to plan for that,” the Tourism Minister declared.