All players involved in the tourism industry must work together in order to rebuild the industry.
Sandals Managing Director (Europe), Dominik Riber, asserted that this is key to getting the industry back on track, as he spoke during the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) ‘FAM’ Trip meeting, with over 80 industry players from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, who arrived on the first Lufthansa flight for the season.
“My message to the industry is that we need these sorts of initiatives (FAM Trip). The people, our mutual guests, they don’t know what to do anymore; they are confused. There are so many changing messages on an hourly level. So, the new ways of travel, all the hygiene requirements, the protocols are absolutely essential to create transparency.
“In the end, we are only going to do this together, as stakeholders along the chain, in the tourism industry. No one will make this on their own,” Mr. Riber stressed, as he commended Barbados for its protocols, stating that officials were doing “a fantastic job”.
BTMI’s Senior Business Development Officer (Europe), Debbie Moe, who agrees with Mr. Riber, noted that it is definitely a challenging time for travel, but it is good for these individuals to experience the protocols first-hand, since it will better their knowledge, so that they can sell Barbados to their clients.
Stressing at a time like this travellers have to take precautions, Ms. Moe highlighted that the main focus of the current ‘FAM’ Trip programme is to showcase that Barbados is open for business, and that the COVID-19 protocols in Barbados are not to be seen as a deterrent, but as a benefit to having a safe and enjoyable vacation.
“These travel agents here have experienced the protocols, from boarding the Lufthansa airline to arriving at their hotel; they’ve experienced once you follow the protocols as they are outlined, it’s easy for entry and it’s a smooth and seamless procedure,” Ms. Moe said.
Ms. Moe, in explaining what the usual BTMI’s ‘FAM’ Trip programme is about, stated: “It is a way to get persons in the tourism industry to familiarise themselves with Barbados; the idea is to have travel agents gain a first-hand experience of Barbados, what it is we have to offer, so that they can essentially sell it to their clients…because they can say I’ve done this, this is really good and you should try this hotel.”
BTMI’s Director (Europe), Anita Nightengale, highlighted that as part of the ‘FAM’ Trip programme there is a climate change sustainability aspect included, which encourages those on the trip to plant a tree either at Coco Hill Forest or Future Trust Centre, and to help restore coral on the island through the Barbados Blue Dive Shop’s PADI Coral First Aid programme.