Stakeholders in the tourism industry are being encouraged to work together with the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport to make “Destination Barbados” foremost in the minds of tourists and business investors.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ian Gooding-Edghill, made the appeal today during his address at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s (BHTA) ‘State of the Tourism Industry Update’, at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Needham’s Point, St. Michael.
Mr. Gooding-Edghill said it was critical for all tourism stakeholders to work together. “As the largest foreign exchange earner the success of this sector does not rest on any single shoulder, but it is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders, including government…,” he stated.
The Tourism Minister outlined key areas going forward that would be addressed to increase revenue earning and make the sector sustainable.
He listed these as: defending and growing airlift; strengthening relationships with tour operators, travel agents and other industry personnel; building new relationships in emerging markets without compromising airlift from major source markets and training.
Minister Gooding-Edghill stressed that Barbados’ greatest resource was its human capital and the industry was interconnected and “woven” into the livelihood of locals.
He added that it was imperative that all stakeholders work to continuously build an industry that is inclusive and beneficial to all, including those who provide ancillary service.
The Tourism Minister indicated that a concerted effort would be undertaken to advance training and retraining within the sector to deliver the quality of service that differentiates the island from other tourist destinations.
It was pointed out that communication and the exchange of data were critical to the sector going forward, and as a result, the Ministry, through the BTMI, intended to make the ‘State of the Tourism Industry Update’ event an annual one.
The Tourism Minister also noted that that the event would not be one-directional but interactive. He said it would provide an opportunity for the BTMI leadership team and market leaders to present their assessments and strategies, provide feedback from the travel trade, and share the goals and objectives to promote growth in the industry.
“As this event becomes a permanent fixture in our annual calendar of events, it will inculcate the expertise of other professionals critical to the travel trade industry to provide insights into potential new markets and trends and provide provocative and constructive discussion on select topics.
“This new approach is necessary, as we seek to keep you, our partners fully informed of tourism developments and trends and update you on all matters related to the dynamic and ever-changing tourism industry,” Minister Gooding-Edghill explained.
Emphasising that advancement of the tourism sector could be achieved, he told those in attendance: “Let’s work together to make the sector the most competitive, transformative and profitable one there is. For alone we can do so little; together we can do so much, and I look forward to working with all of you for the overall success of Barbados’ tourism.”