One could hardly believe that the year is almost into the final quarter already. For most tourism practitioners, this has been a very difficult year and perhaps the sooner it is over the better.
For others, the thought of getting to this point of the year when the winter season starts again is a much anticipated and welcome time. There is much speculation over how things will shape-up after the American elections in November. On one hand, some people feel that if the elections are won by the Republicans, those who control the wealth will once again start to free up the money and inspire some confidence in the US economy. Others feel that if the Democrats are returned to power there will be very little point of keeping the strangle hold on the economy and hurting themselves any more in the process. From a tourism point-of-view, I believe that we are all hoping that if the American politics has anything to do with us improving our tourism number from the US market then let November come and go quickly as well.
However, what happens on the other side on our traditional source markets, especially the UK? I do not know that there is any imminent end to the financial wows that are being faced in that market. From speaking with a number of guests within recent times, the addition of the APD does not make choosing the Caribbean and Barbados specifically an easy task. So the question remains what should we do?
I do not believe in presenting a problem without looking at possible solutions and today is no different. There are many ways that we can tackle some of the issues we face today. The first suggestion, which I would offer, is that we must not go silent. There is an old bajan saying, “out of sight out of mind.” I felt that this saying is still as true today as it was in the past. During the month of November, we are once again going to be hosting our Food and Wine & Rum Festival and I am sure that there are going to be many visiting journalists on the island. To me, this is a great opportunity to turn up the volume from a PR point-of-view. We should also make the best use of social media, as this is a very economical way of reminding the public that we are still around; not to mention that there is a big shift taking place on how and where our visitors get information about the destination and the product.
World Travel Market will also take place in the UK in November and there is no doubt that Barbados will be well represented. Again, this is a great opportunity to maintain our presence in the market. Some people are still looking for last minute deals and therefore, when we attend the World Travel Market, we should do so with that in mind. We should also look ahead and have our summer packages for 2013 ready for those who believe in getting a deal for being early.
*Tourism is our business, let us play our part