Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins. (FP)

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, is keenly looking forward to commencing discussions with stakeholders on sustainable tourism development, in the new year.

Senator Cummins underscored the importance of these talks as she recently delivered remarks at the official opening of the O2 Beach Club and Spa, at St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church. Also present was Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and persons involved in the hotel industry.

The Minister told those gathered that,over the next five years, she would like to see hotels bearing Barbados’ brand and leadership expand across the region and globe.

She continued: “There must be a point where we start to have a conversation around sustainable tourism development. And that means that we have to come to a point where we are not only concentrating on moving people into the country, but moving businesses out of the country, and creating franchises and commercial presence in markets all around the world, where you are generating revenue from a diversified portfolio and not just from occupancy rates on island.

“This is a vision of the Government of Barbados and we are looking forward to working with all of you to see that…. I am hopeful that in the new year we can commence these discussions with many of you – the owners of capital, the managers, the innovators – on how we can build this new model for our industry and diversify our existing markets…, and bring new business and new growth and prosperity to our country,” she stated.

Senator Cummins shared the good news that Barbados’ airlift had improved significantly, after taking a major hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have had over the last 22 months almost a flat line in some months for visitors. But we are now at the stage where we have returned, with the work of our teams in the overseas markets in the UK, Brussels, New York, and Toronto, to 87 per cent of our 2019 airlift.

“We are now at just under 90 per cent of our airlift and most of our routes are flying full. We have a few soft routes, but you have gone through a period where we did not have that. But we are here now and we are very supportive of the work of all of our team members on the ground to be able to get us to this stage,” she said.

During her brief remarks, and before cutting the ribbon, Prime Minister Mottley congratulated the owners of the property, noting that the investment showed confidence in Barbados.

O2 Beach Club & Spa is a five-star all-inclusive luxury boutique resort and the latest addition to the Ocean Hotels Group. It has 130 luxury rooms and suites and the resort’s amenities include three scenic pools, including one of the only rooftop pools on the island; six dining options; seven bars with the new Brisa rooftop lounge; and the full service Acqua spa, featuring the only Hamman treatments in Barbados.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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