Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy addressing the BHTA General Meeting. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) is to be restructured and broken into two institutions operating under the name Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, made this disclosure today, while addressing the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s 1st Quarterly General Meeting at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, Rockley, Christ Church.

He told the large gathering of hoteliers and industry officials, that the two entities – one with emphasis on marketing and the other on product development – would operate as a "wholly owned government limited liability company and will be solely responsible for marketing".

Mr. Sealy said Cabinet had agreed to the restructuring plan and the document was now with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and would soon be laid in Parliament.

The Tourism Minister further explained that the Tourism Product Authority would be achieved through amending the Barbados Tourism Authority Act and would operate as a statutory body which incorporated the product development elements of the BTA, and the Ministry of Tourism.

He added: "It is expected that by allowing greater autonomy of the marketing aspect of the BTA, it will be responsive to the ever changing needs of the global tourism market place.?? That should be music to the ears of most of the persons in this room.?? I have grown tired of the complaints about the BTA from the private sector and we are now saying that we want to make it more private sector oriented by putting the right people and systems in place."

Mr. Sealy said the improved system should achieve better results and gave the assurance that the entity would finally come to fruition and staff would not be disadvantaged during the transition period.

Similarly, the Acting Prime Minister revealed that the highly-skilled staff of the Product Authority would play a major role in assisting the island in the strategic development of its tourism product.

"…There will be a focus on the visiting experience and not just the attractions but the whole experience from the time the tourist alights from the aircraft or exit the gangway at the seaport until the end of their stay.?? So, the Product Authority can now deal with standards and service as opposed to these issues being buried in an authority that is more concerned with airlift and marketing considerations," Mr. Sealy emphasised.??


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