Government and various tourism stakeholders have been working to refashion “a reimagined tourism product”.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, made this disclosure while addressing the Together Again event, hosted by the Barbados Conference Services Limited, in collaboration with some of its strategic industry partners, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre last Friday.
Senator Cummins pointed out that all countries around the world are grappling with how to reinvent and diversify their lead sector, and Barbados’ lead sector continues to be tourism.
“And I’m here to say to you tonight that Barbados, our economy, and our tourism sector will stand, we will rebuild and we will rise again,” she affirmed, while acknowledging the impacts of slow economic activities, layoffs and unemployment as a result of COVID-19, and the threat of a very active hurricane season.
The Tourism Minister stated that she had been busy meeting with health teams in dedicated sessions, with agencies such as Gatwick International Airport, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, hotel investors, as well as all agencies under the ministry’s portfolio, to plan the way forward for Barbados’ tourism product.
She also mentioned that Government has recognised that working in silos creates challenges, and as a result, the Ministry has formed a new “Tourism Ministerial Cabinet”.
According to her, it includes all agencies and all managers and CEOs of state-owned enterprises that fall under the umbrella of the Ministry.
They meet, every two weeks on Mondays, to synergise and develop strategies that will engage all stakeholders in the tourism sector, in an effort to re-diversify and re-imagine our lead sector.
Senator Cummins said this new synergy would provide the opportunity to expand the sector, to build the kind of niche segments needed in the value and supply chain linkages that are required to take the broader economy along with it.
The Tourism Minister disclosed that in the coming weeks she would be meeting with the manufacturing, agricultural, services, and orange economy sectors (creative industry), to discuss how they could assist in recovering and rebuilding a sustainable tourism industry.
She said: “We have the things required to do that, but it calls for solidarity. No country, no individual, no household, can overcome the current challenges alone. So, we need to work on rebuilding trust; trust in people’s ability to travel safely; trust in people’s ability to stay in hotels safely. There’s a learning opportunity here for all of us and we are committed to grasping it.”