The Ministry of Tourism is planning and mitigating against risk factors to the sector, to ensure that Barbados’ tourism sector can be at its best and provide a safe environment when a large number of people resume travelling.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, highlighted the work the Ministry is doing to prepare Barbados for a ‘reopening’ of the sector, during a press conference this afternoon at Ilaro Court.
Given the uncertainty of the tourism sector and the impact of COVID-19 on tourism dependent economies, the Tourism Minister noted some of the predictions made about the sector and shared the outlook for tourism based on forecast models.
She said pessimistic forecast models indicate that the industry could rebound by 2025, whereas optimistic scenarios indicate a resumption by 2023.
“I think one thing we’re clear about is that we don’t have any promises or guarantees about what tomorrow will hold. But what we have to do is what Prime Minister has been speaking about all the time; plan and mitigate for all the risks that we’re being presented with, and adjust as quickly as challenges are presented before us. So, we’re going to be pushing forward to see how aggressively we can settle these protocols for example, which have already been approved. We can work with our source partners to make sure that we can resume travel safely,” Senator Cummins stated.
She said the Ministry, as part of its planning and mitigating for the resumption of the industry, has been aggressively marketing the island.
“All of the marketing agencies, … all of the [social media] pages that are for each of the country’s major destinations, they’re all talking about when we return, ‘we’re looking forward to welcoming you back’; ‘when you’re free to travel again, we’re here waiting for you’. And so the marketing really is about keeping the destination at this point, top of mind.
“So that when people are able to travel again, people have choices, and that they’re able to make a decision about where they want to go first, how long they want to spend [and] what kind of products and services they’re looking for,” Senator Cummins explained.
In addition, she stressed: “It is our responsibility to ensure that we are able to market Barbados and keep it top of mind, front and centre in the markets that we are typically engaged in. Keep it top of mind, front and centre in the markets that we are not traditionally known for, and that we’re able to maintain that competitive edge for marketing….”
“We’re hoping in particular with our cruise ship partners to be able to see a summer season, but all those things are dependent on circumstances which quite are largely out of our control, like volcanoes, but we are going to be making sure that every effort is made to have a safe resumption of tourism as soon as it is feasible to do so,” Minister Cummins stated.