Barbados’ competitiveness in the travel and tourism business has improved, even as concern remains about the decline in the sector which earns the island its most foreign exchange.
And the island can do even better than its third in the region and 27th overall out of 140 countries travel and tourism competitiveness position, once it improves elements of its “environmental sustainability”.
The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 produced by the World Economic Forum gave Barbados top marks for its ability to compete in this area of economic activity, and the island moved up one place in the overall rankings.
“Barbados ranks third in the region and 27th overall, up one place since the last assessment. Barbados comes in second overall for the country’s affinity for travel and tourism, with a positive attitude toward tourists and toward the value of tourism in the country, although it does receive a middling score for the degree of customer orientation (64),” the 517-page report said.
“The importance of the travel and tourism sector for Barbados is reflected in the high prioritisation placed on travel and tourism (eighth), with significant emphasis put on the sector’s development by the Government and high spending on the sector, ensuring effective destination marketing campaigns and collecting relevant sector data on a timely basis.
“However, although there have been some marginal improvements in some elements of its environmental sustainability, additional efforts to protect the natural environment would reinforce the country’s strong travel and tourism competitiveness,” it added.
The authors of the report said it was not surprising that “well-known tourism destinations” including Barbados, Malta, Jamaica, and Spain are also in the top 10 in the category of prioritisation of travel and tourism “given the importance of the sector for their economies”.
“This standing is borne out not only by high government expenditure on the sector but also by a holistic approach in supporting the sector that includes strong destination – marketing campaigns and country-level presence at key international tourism fairs,” the document stated.
“The countries with the top three assessments for the affinity for travel and tourism are Lebanon, Barbados, and Hong Kong. All three display great openness to foreign travelers, and their business communities express their sense of the great value of the tourism on offer in their respective economies.”
Overall, Barbados was scored, like the other 139 destinations, as naked in numerous categories, including policy rules and regulations, environmental sustainability, safety and security, health and hygiene, prioritisation of travel and tourism, air transport infrastructure, ground transport infrastructure, tourism infrastructure.
The other areas in which scores were ascribed were information communication technology infrastructure, price competitiveness in the travel and tourism index, human resources, affinity for travel and tourism, natural and cultural resources. (SC)