The struggling small hotels in Barbados have unveiled a four-pronged strategy to ensure their survival and success in the face of declining occupancies and a lack of access to funding.
Newly-elected chairman of the Intimate Hotels of Barbados, Renee Coppin, reported to its annual general meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning that the four key areas and initiatives which would drive this sector were: sports tourism, online marketing and bookings, staycations and funding.
Coppin, the first female chairman of the IHB, said the time had come to focus on these areas and to commit all resources, both physical and financial, to making them work.
“We believe that sports tourism is the niche that can underscore the revitalisation of the tourism industry,” she observed.
In making her case for a sports tourism thrust, she identified World Cups in football, cricket and rugby to Olympics and Formula One racing as multi-billion-dollar events. Locally, the IHB head cited motor sport which is touted as one of the largest spectator sports in the island.
Coppin referred to the Barbados Rally Club’s SOL Rally as boasting of 264 international entrants and 91 from the region, which she reasoned, stimulated 3,000 non-peak room nights for the island’s hotels and generated a visitor spend during the period of the event of $2.5 million.
“With this in mind, the Intimate Hotels of Barbados will be partnering with a private entity to create a brand called Intimate Sports, which, over time, will seek to build a meaningful series of sporting events to fill our annual calendar,” revealed the small hotel industry spokeswoman.
She said that initially, the plan incorporates three sporing events, including “a run, which hopes to bring a group out of the United States called Black Girls Run”.
She described this is an established running group that was formed to raise awareness for the chronic non-communicable diseases which affect the African communities in the US. She said the group had a following of 75,000 on Facebook.
The second proposed sport, Coppin, disclosed, was Think Pink Netball.