Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy (centre) takes a look at the Spirit of Barbados brochure with CEO of Foster and Ince Tourism Group, Martin Ince and Executive Vice President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Authority, Sue Springer. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Those in control of tourism offerings need to ???up the ante’ to enhance their existing product and provide more to those who visit these shores.

This was the sentiment shared by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, as he delivered remarks at the launch of Tiami’s Spirit of Barbados luxury catamaran cruises last Saturday.??

The Minister noted that in addition to introducing a new product to the market, the Tiami Cruises gift centre at the Shallow Draught was a prime example of developing another creative avenue for generating revenue for the business.?? He suggested that "too many attractions have not exploited the merchandising element as effectively as they should," and praised the forethought of the directors of Tiami, a company which he considered "a pioneer" within its sector.

Mr. Sealy observed that the leaders at Tiami’s parent company, Foster and Ince Tourism Group, should be lauded for investing in the Spirit of Barbados during these economic times. He added that their decision to improve on their existing product could be mirrored with the quality of service offered.

"The same way that the investors and managers have decided to up the ante in terms of the offering…we have to up the ante in terms of the level of service delivery," the Minister stressed, "to make sure our visitors want to come back in these tough economic times".

Although catering to a more exclusive cruising niche, Mr. Sealy noted that the Spirit of Barbados "couldn’t have come at a better time, because we all know, the Harbour Master has sailed south and has gone now to please Trinidadians for the time being…[but] I believe it will come back. But we are happy to see that within the realm of this particular sub sector, the day cruises, that we are seeing some new offerings," he disclosed.

However, the Minister noted that the industry had many successes, and stated "I think it’s still encouraging to be in a position to report that [in] 2011 we saw a significant increase on 2010, [with] close to 570,000 visitors. And, I [will] take this opportunity to single out the workers in the sector.?? When we talk about workers in general terms we have to make the point that it is those who are on the front lines that make the difference," he stressed.

The 65-foot catamaran, Spirit of Barbados, offers lunch and dinner cruises.


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